My childhood has led me to my current body of work. I am the product of an illustrator who chose books based on the beauty of the illustrations. I have continued this collection. Referencing characters and ideas for my own work. I grew up surrounded by animals on our farm. Studying them, the ways animals interact and coexsist among each other, how species intermingled, the hierarchies that arose. I gave them personalities in my mind. Constructing back stories and human characteristics for each one. Fast forward to 2018, when I took my first pottery class which landed me with a membership at a pottery studio. I began to find what my artistic practice was craving. It took me back to my childhood, constructing animals out of playdoh and drying them on my shelf. In a full circle moment, I combined my love for childrens book illustrations, building back stories for the creatures around me, and moving from playdoh to clay to create, what I call, my ceramic illustrations. Each sculpture is a mix of Beatrice Potter and an Orwellian Animal Farm character. Conceptualized in my mind, were I work out their features, back stories, faults, and qualities. Then, through my hands, they are birthed into life through earthen clay, underglazes, and the fire of the kiln.
Tennyson Corley is a sculptor, or as she calls it, ceramic illustrator residing in Columbia, South Carolina. Her practice explores the use of earthen clay as an illustrative tool to create creatures with carefully crafted backstories. Each a mixture of Beatrice Potter illustration and an Orwellian Animal Farm character.
Tennyson was raised by her mother, an illustrator, in the heart of South Carolina on a large horse stable. With years spent in her own mother's studio, Tennyson was encouraged creatively and gained a lasting love for art.