I began working in clay in 2009 when I took my first figurative sculpture workshop at Santa Fe Clay with Christina West at the age of 57. I did a 70% of full size self portrait and fell in love with working in clay. The following week I did a half size seated figure in a workshop with Dirk Staschke. As much as I loved the medium, I had no interest in doing "copies" of real people.
In late 2012 when I began sculpting my first large scale standing figure (Lillian), she was going to be an older woman in a bathing suit holding a towel up with both hands to hide her imperfect body, as if someone had walked up on her getting out of a pool. I did a small model first. Once I had finished sculpting Lillian's 54" body and head on the armature and began to work on her arms, I realized she wasn’t embarrassed or ashamed. She was not hiding behind a towel, she was proud and questioning what someone was doing invading her space. I had always been fascinated by the confidence some people portray with their imperfect faces and bodies while others pump up or cut up their faces and bodies in an attempt to achieve what they deem to be the ideal. Sculpting Lillian made me recognize my need for acceptance of my own imperfections.
I try to infuse my work with humor exaggerating features and flaws in the body to let the viewer smile and recognize themselves in my work. My "friends" are proud of who they are and how they look and almost dare the viewer to find fault in their appearances.
Since my first summer workshops with Christina West and Dirk Staschke, I have studied with the some of the best figurative clay artists in the country including Tip Toland, Curt LaCross, Phillippe Faraut, Bruno Lucchessi, and Beth Cavener.
Becky Gottsegen grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and graduated from high school in 1970 but didn't go to college until she was in her 30s, majoring in graphic design. She finished her college degree in 1989 and then went to work with an architect in a furniture design business where she thrived, winning an Alpha Award for Best New Talent. The following year she won the Alpha for an interior design project in the French Quarter in New Orleans.
After selling her interest in the furniture business, she bought an historic building in the Warehouse District of New Orleans where she opened a high end furniture gallery. She showed hand crafted home furnishings by over 30 Louisiana artists including her own original designs. After 5 years she closed the business and sold the building and worked on a number of construction and design projects in New Orleans.
After several years of stressful work, she decided to retire from the construction and design business and pursue her interest in working in clay which started in high school. In early August of 2005, Becky rented part of a ceramic artist’s studio, purchased 200 pounds of clay and looked forward to pursuing her dream. Hurricane Katrina changed all that when on August 29th that year it flooded the studio building with 6 feet of water….
After a year of doing volunteer work feeding cats and helping friends rebuild their homes in New Orleans, Becky and her husband moved to Baton Rouge where Becky's mother was still living and in declining health. They built a house and included a studio for Becky behind the garage and she then was able to focus on being an artist. Unfortunately there were no classes for wannabe ceramic artists in Baton Rouge but she was able to take a workshop each summer over the last 6 years with the top figurative ceramic artists in the country including Tip Toland, Christina West, Beth Cavener, Dirk Staschke, Curt LaCross and Philippe Faraut. Whatever she couldn't learn in a one week workshop, she has learned by trial and error.
Her dream was always to build close to life-size figures and in late 2012, that dream was realized with Lillian, her first. She is now experimenting with different size figurative work.