Gerry O’Meara, an artist with a unique journey, is crafting a remarkable story with her work in ceramics. Born in Tokyo, Japan but having spent most of her live in Augusta, GA, Gerry’s artistic voyage has guided her from textiles to medicine and finally to the mesmerizing world of clay. Her dedication and passion for the craft have made her the celebrated ceramic artist we all know and love.
After earning her BFA in textiles from the University of Georgia in 1976, she pursued a career in medicine, earning her MD from the Medical College of Georgia in 1986. It wasn’t until her retirement from the practice of medicine that Gerry’s creative spirit could be fully unleashed.
Ceramics as a medium that came to her naturally. In 2015, during her pursuit of an MBA degree at Augusta University, she crossed paths with Raoul Pacheco, the Chairman of the Ceramics Department. Encouraged by Raoul, who himself is an amazingly talented ceramicist, Gerry enrolled in a ceramics course, and that was the spark that lit her artistic kiln. Since then, she has been a dedicated student of ceramics, attending classes every semester, driven by her passion.
Working with clay is a multidimensional experience for Gerry. It combines the scientific, artistic, and physical aspects that drive her work. She delves into the science of clay and glaze chemistry, exploring the thermal dynamics of firing and cooling, and mastering the physics of clay manipulation when throwing on the wheel. The artistic aspect allows Gerry to express her emotions and imagination; making choices about glaze colors, finishes, and functional or sculptural forms. She describes throwing on the wheel as a “meditative” process that allows her to connect with her art on a profound level. Her works are inspired by nature and can be seen in her choice of glaze pallet and use of texture. She also incorporates found, nature materials to use in her works, such as handles for vessels.
Gerry sees her relationship with clay as an evolving journey. There are moments of success and times when the artistic process presents challenges. Emotional investment, patience, and time are key components. Gerry constantly challenges herself to improve, both in technical proficiency and artistic expression. One significant challenge is balancing the desire to create what she loves with the practicality of creating pieces that will sell. She strives to remain true to her artistic vision while appreciating the validation of those who appreciate and purchase her work.
Augusta’s rich artistic community serves as a wellspring of inspiration for Gerry. She finds it difficult to single out one specific local artist as her muse because the diversity of expression in the community is itself a source of inspiration.
Gerry has a deep admiration for artists who excel in their chosen niche as well as those who reinvent their style while staying true to themselves. She’s also fascinated by local artists who are not only skilled at creating visual art but are also adept storytellers and wordsmiths.
You can explore Gerry O’Meara’s ceramic creations on her Instagram and Facebook pages. She has also been know to display her work in the North Augusta Arts and Heritage Center gift shop and the Morris Musuem of Art. As well as annually at Arts Council events such as Arts in the Heart of Augusta, the WetPaint Party and Art Sale and Private Views.
Gerry actively participates in shows and pop-ups, primarily with the Clay Artists of the Southeast (CASE). For retail or commission inquiries, you can message her through her social media profiles.
As far as upcoming events go, you can find Gerry and her work on November 6 – 30th with the CASE members’ pottery display at the Columbia County Library in Evans Town Center. On November 13 – 15th at the Mad Potters Organization (MPO) student ceramics sale in the Jaguar Student Activity Center breezeway on the Summerville Campus. On December 1-2 & 8-9 from Noon – 7pm at the CASE members present “Holiday on Main” in McCormick, SC. This special Holiday Market will be at the Gin Mill, 206 N Main St.