What do Kodiak, Alaska and Arivaca, Arizona have in common? Sea-faring potter Diana MacDonell. The Minnesota native arrived in Arivaca 15 years ago with partner Mike McGuire. The two met in Alaska where both made their living. “I moved to Alaska in 1982, right after college, “ said Diana. “I knew I could not make a living in ceramics so I became a commercial fisherman and merchant mariner." Now, retired from the ocean and living in Arizona she has time to throw again. An art major in college, she had the opportunity to study many different forms of art including drawing, painting, jewelry and stained glass. Pottery was her main medium.
It was the physicality of ceramics that hooked her. “I love working with my hands creating a form from clay. Then with a lot of patience and practice, creating something that is functional and hopefully appreciated by other people is exciting for me.”
Diana joined the Arivaca Artists’ Co-op 8 years ago where her pottery is for sale. Her serving pieces –bowls, platters - and dinnerware are popular with locals and visitors.
It’s the colors that draw admirers to her work. The names of the glazes conjure a good picture of the finished product. Antique Jade results in layers of color ranging from a peacock green to a turquoise blue.
The pink jewelry jars come from a clear glaze applied over the red clay body with a raku glaze and fired at a lower temp.
Italian Straw overlapped with Chocolate Mesa and then dripped with a clear glaze creates the three-tone earth colors in her other palette.
“As much as I like being on the water, I love the desert, “ she said revealing what she likes most about Arivaca. “I love the heat, the beautiful sunsets (which are different from Alaska), the vegetation, cacti, and solitude. I love my solitude. When I sit at the potter’s wheel it is a meditative process for me.”