Merry Arttoones, MFA

Artist

  • Glazed Ceramic Tiles
  • Ceramic Narrative Sculpture
  • Bronze Narrative Scultpure
  • Workshops: Ceramic Paperclay Sculpture, Ceramic Tile Glazing and Firing

Reality Check Studio

  • Large studio in Tucson Arizona
  • Escape the Winter blues with a workshop in the Sonoran Desert
  • Workshop includes 25 pounds of Cone 10, Stoneware Paperclay
  • All tools provided
  • Easy to access location, casitas for rent nearby
  • Beautiful setting with evening activities  : Winning the Gravity War WINE Celebration; Pie Day, Tile Demo Night, Spaghetti Night–friends and hubbies welcome…
student working on a horse scultputre

Reality Check Studio Classes

Classroom Instruction at my Reality Studio in Tucson, AZ
space cadet painted tile

Glazed Ceramic Tiles

Painting with Glass: Glazed Ceramic Tiles. Inspired by “The Muse”.

Narrative Sculptures

Narrative sculptures, each with a story to tell. Inspired by “The Muse”.

Workshops

at Reality Check Studio
4 day Sculpture workshop for

  • 4-legged animal workshop
  • Standing Figure
  • Horses
  • Ceramic Tile Glazing and Firing

Including pie night, wine night and lots of fun and laughter.

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Stories

In the Company of the Muse…

The Muse has a song for every heart.. In the work I try to catch that melody and make it visible…

Now, the Muse’s lyrics are a foreign language to me… but somehow in the translation into an image, I catch of a glimpse of that narrative ballad… hoping that the Beauty of the song made visible will help to find its heart home…

Mary Susan Cate, MFA

I was an  Army brat. I grew up around the world and in transit.  My parents were cultural junkies. So there was Kabuki theater in Japan; in Germany every fantastic Mad Ludwig castle and Bavarian Church were visited and well endured… In Paris, Winged Victory and huge David’s haunted in the labyrinth Louvre. In Spain the gaudy and intricately painted wooden Sanctos enthralled. In England the sentinels of Stonehenge threatened, the Tate Museum in London inspired and the ancient giant oaks just had to be climbed.

Most of this culturally rich childhood was lived in foreign countries. Though my first vague Art Museum memory is of my six year old self tagging along with Dad to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We had just shipped into New York City  from a three year posting in Panama. But really the foreign country to me has been America, So, I set out to learn its visual language. I studied painting and drawing at Corcoran School of the Art, in Washington, D.C.; printmaking and pottery at University of Mary Washington, in Virginia.  Then attended Maryland Institute College of Art. There I studied classical sculpture and color printmaking while working towards my MFA in Painting from their  Hoffberger Graduate School My thesis won me the Walters Traveling Fellowship to Italy...

Mary Susan Cate, MFA

I was an  Army brat. I grew up around the world and in transit.  My parents were cultural junkies. So there was Kabuki theater in Japan; in Germany every fantastic Mad Ludwig castle and Bavarian Church were visited and well endured… In Paris, Winged Victory and huge David’s haunted in the labyrinth Louvre. In Spain the gaudy and intricately painted wooden Sanctos enthralled. In England the sentinels of Stonehenge threatened, the Tate Museum in London inspired and the ancient giant oaks just had to be climbed.

Most of this culturally rich childhood was lived in foreign countries. Though my first vague Art Museum memory is of my six year old self tagging along with Dad to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We had just shipped into New York City  from a three year posting in Panama. But really the foreign country to me has been America, So, I set out to learn its visual language. I studied painting and drawing at Corcoran School of the Art, in Washington, D.C.; printmaking and pottery at University of Mary Washington, in Virginia.  Then attended Maryland Institute College of Art. There I studied classical sculpture and color printmaking while working towards my MFA in Painting from their  Hoffberger Graduate School My thesis won me the Walters Traveling Fellowship to Italy...

Deep breath … all this under my belt.. and back from Italy, time to figure out what the life’s work should be. The Why and What For of BEing an artist.  Because, that seemingly ideal childhood had been marred by an abusive family life. But that too is the fodder of art.   Early I turned to books to try to understand the “Being” thing. And thus a love of storytelling grew. And somewhere in Grad School, I had met and learned to trust the Muse. Well, the trust thing was years slow…LOL. But the task was set: work the imagery in a narrative. Use the language of whimsy.. and pop culture. Just as fairy tales speak through fantastical creatures of deeper and sometime darker truths, I would use the language of whimsy to let the viewer laugh, through the tears. Eventually the work and the Muse lead me to the Southwest. Here in the Sonoran desert of Tucson, Arizona, I have maintained my Reality Check Studio… in the company of the Muse.

Deep breath … all this under my belt.. and back from Italy, time to figure out what the life’s work should be. The Why and What For of BEing an artist.  Because, that seemingly ideal childhood had been marred by an abusive family life. But that too is the fodder of art.   Early I turned to books to try to understand the “Being” thing. And thus a love of storytelling grew. And somewhere in Grad School, I had met and learned to trust the Muse. Well, the trust thing was years slow…LOL. But the task was set: work the imagery in a narrative. Use the language of whimsy.. and pop culture. Just as fairy tales speak through fantastical creatures of deeper and sometime darker truths, I would use the language of whimsy to let the viewer laugh, through the tears. Eventually the work and the Muse lead me to the Southwest. Here in the Sonoran desert of Tucson, Arizona, I have maintained my Reality Check Studio… in the company of the Muse.

Ceramic Tiles

Creating ceramic tile portraits requires multiple sessions of painting and firing. This is the story of The Lady in Blue.

Get In Touch

Everyone has a story to tell

Telling it visually, leaps the language barrier. Telling it in clay and glaze, gives the storyteller a medium that is immediate, flowing, and pliant to the will of the Muse. And yet at the mercy of a firey kiln. .

I work the story in series, each sculpture or tile adding a new character or a new plot twist. From the smug smirks of hidden agendas or the bemused smiles of Ahaaa! moments, the characters reveal themselves, and the narrative unfolds as chapters in a book — a comic book. For, the language is that of whimsy –a sort of stand-up comedic routine that insures a less threatening examination of difficult or poignant subjects. We get to laugh before we cry. and chuckle at the absurdities of life. Cartoons? No, artoons ….a very Merry Mary Artttoones with an M.F.A. mind you!