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"Speak My Language" - Exhibit by Carolyn Ford

by Ashley Holt on 2020-08-21T10:48:00-04:00 | Comments

This fall, the SCC Library is proud to present a new art exhibit by Carolyn Ford. "Speak My Language" exhibits 22 infamous southern phrases as illustrated in sgraffito ceramic plates, equally impressive in their technique and hilarious in concept. The show runs September 1 - November 30, 2020 in the Giles Campus Library, with artist talks scheduled for September 15 at 2:00 pm and September 16 at 10:00

Ms. Ford makes the following artist's statement about these works:

"Deeply influenced by history, modes of communication, and irreverent tales, this body of work investigates bygone colloquialisms. Often frowned upon, many of these phrases are not considered polite conversation yet are present from region to region.
"Kiss My Grits" Sgaffito Ceramic Plate

Kiss My Grits, Sgraffito Ceramic Plate

"From the veiling of insults to the long-winded descriptive banter, I find humor in the sarcasm. By using the sgraffito technique to “scratch away” from the clay,  I create a surface characteristic of a relief print. The utilitarian plate form is reminiscent of traditions surrounding food and conversation. The unifying circle represents cycles and portals as our vernacular evolves. By immortalizing these nostalgic expressions in an image, I pay homage to these clever quips."

If You've Got Time to Lean, You've Got Time to Clean, Sgraffito Ceramic Plate

Born and raised in middle Tennessee, Carolyn Ford was surrounded by Southern oral culture of exaggerated storytelling and colorful colloquialisms or “southernisms.” After a childhood in the suburbs outside of Nashville, her family moved to their ancestral farm. The combination of the creativity from songwriters’ lyrics, her Grandmother’s Weekly World News papers, and the yarns spun, inspired her to expand upon her own visual stories (with a preference to the irreverent, odd, and far-fetched). Observational detective work and love of researched nostalgia are part of her current process. As an avid traveler, she investigates regional slang, idioms, folklore, fables, limericks, and stories of high strangeness alongside the use of traditional crafts, visual patterns, and color pallets passed from one generation to the next. She is also fascinated with other means to communicate such as codes, gestures, semiotics, and lingo.

Don't Ruffle My Feathers/Madder than a Wet Hen, Sgraffito Ceramic Plate

Carolyn Ford attended Middle Tennessee State University where she earned her BFA with an emphasis in Ceramics, Drawing, and Painting. There she studied abroad and exhibited in Italy. She then earned her MFA from Washington State University in Ceramics and Drawing where she studied under Ann Christenson and Patrick Siler. Ford has worked at Limestone University, previously Limestone College, since 2003 where she is a Professor of Art and served as the Chair of the Art Department for ten years.  She just recently was a part of the Asheville Art Museum’s inaugural reopening exhibit Appalachia Now where six of her pieces were purchased for the museum’s permanent collection. Ford spent her Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks as a visiting artist at Mission Clay Art and Industry in Phoenix, AZ where she carved on two two-ton pipes now part of their permanent collection. Pending Covid19, she was slated to spend her sabbatical at Mission as an artist in residence producing public art.

Busier than a One-Legged Man in a Butt-Kickin' Contest, Sgraffito Ceramic Plate

For more information, please visit  or email for prices and availability. You can also visit @cfordart on Instagram to see works in progress and news.

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