Primarily self-taught, Patz Fowle is an award-winning South Carolina clay sculptor, innovative educator and published author. Fowle specializes in creating handbuilt anthropomorphic ceramic sculpture and her work is recognized for its distinctive, thought-provoking, witty style. Her unique clay sculptures can be found in museums, public art exhibitions and in public and private collections.
Fowle’s sculptures and original techniques are recognized by the American Ceramic Society, chronicled in numerous ceramic books and featured in documentaries. Once considered a ground-breaking method for handbuilding in clay, Fowle’s significant contributions to the ceramic arts have become an American Tradition. Through the years, she has taught the Patz Process Ceramic Technique to thousands of students in public schools, universities and workshops. Fowle teaches her techniques locally, nationally and internationally in hopes that this exciting art form will continue to inspire creativity in the ceramic arts for many generations to come.
Southern by birth, Patz Fowle was born in the mid 50’s. In her early years she was educated in public schools in Detroit, Michigan where teachers encouraged and nurtured her creative abilities. Although her family would struggle through many difficult times she always had her love of art as a positive force growing up.
In 1970 while Patz (a nick-name given to her) was attending a suburban high school she realized a genuine passion for working in clay and originated a straightforward, innovative method for handbuilding. She used her unique method of handbuilding to create quirky clay animals and taught her Patz Process technique to the art teacher and others in the art room.
As a young adult, Patz enjoyed working in the field of graphic arts and commercial design. After marrying Mike Fowle (the greatest guy on earth) the two began their life-long journey and later had a child together. Wanting to know everything they could about clay and the ceramic arts, Patz and Mike took classes in traditional wheel thrown pottery and glaze-calculation under the direction of Yosuke Haruta in the Ceramic Arts Program at Jackson College in 1979. Even though the Fowle’s both excelled at traditional wheel thrown pottery, Patz soon returned to her unique process for handbuilding in clay.
In 1980 the diverse range of contemporary art created in New York was extremely exciting to the adventurous Fowle’s so they and their young daughter moved from Michigan to Long Island, New York so they could explore the art world first-hand. While Mike was busy in construction changing the skyline of Manhattan, Patz made unique ceramic jewelry for New York City fashion designers and created unique “animals with attitude” sculptures for art galleries in the city.
In 1981 Patz Fowle’s anthropomorphic clay sculptures were becoming recognized in a big way in her first major art exhibition at the International Exposition of Emerging Visual Artist, New Artist at Madison Square Gardens in New York City.
1982, Fowle continued art studies attending Parsons School of Design with an emphasis in illustration at Adelphi University, LI, NY.
1983 While continuing to work on her clay creations, Fowle shared her love of ceramics with St. Lawrence University Fine Arts students. They were able to engage in ceramic studio arts during an internship program in Fowle’s arts studio on Long Island.
1980-1989 Fowle’s ceramic sculptures were exhibited in scores of prestigious exhibitions and received many awards including a positive review from an art critic in the New York Times. Each summer in the mid through late 80’s the Fowle’s would travel to Charlotte NC where Patz would exhibit and sell her work at a prominent arts festival. Following the event she would visit family members living in South Carolina.
In the summer of 1989 the three Fowle’s relocated to SC to be closer to family. She continued to create award-winning art and exhibited in local, national and international competitions and exhibitions.
In 1993 Fowle was a Featured Artist on PBS, in a documentary series that highlighted people and places in South Carolina. The documentary "Palmetto Places” (Hartsville) still shows from time to time on South Carolina Educational Television, SCETV.
In 1995 Fowle was approved by the South Carolina Arts Commission to teach Visual Arts in schools.
* 1995-present the American Ceramics Society's international periodical, Ceramics Monthly Magazine has featured Fowle’s sculptures in their publications numerous times.
* In 1997 Fowle’s ceramic sculpture was published in the hardcover book Handbuilt Ceramics By Kathy Triplett published by Lark Books and distributed by Random House.
From 1995-2003 Fowle was an art designer and limited edition sculptor for NASCAR and The International Speedway Corporation. In 1999 Fowle’s "Pole-Cat" sculptures were published in a book on NASCAR History Darlington Raceway-50th Anniversary by Jim Hunter/UMI Publications.
2000 The Smithsonian Museum, NASCAR and the Atlanta History Center selected Fowle’s Pole-Cat sculptures as part of a traveling exhibition Speed and Spirit: NASCAR in America. (The exhibit was postponed due to the 9/11 crises)
2003-06’ Patz traveled regularly to Mesa, Arizona and Seattle, Washington where she was the sole illustrator for the National Education Program Literacy First.
* In 2004 The "PATZ PROCESS CERAMIC TECHNIQUE" and images of Fowle’s ceramic sculptures were published and prominently featured in the nationally distributed secondary, school art text book and teacher’s edition of Beginning Sculpture Davis Publications/ by Arthur Williams.
In 2004 Fowle traveled internationally to Italy as part of a Professional Development Art Study Program in Rome, Milan, Venice, Florence, Tuscany and Assisi.
In the summers of 2004 and 2005 Fowle studied at the Savannah College of Art and Design at the Art Educators Forum in Savannah, Georgia where she focused on; metal fabrication, jewelry, illustration and animation.
2005 Fowle was invited to Japan as an International Artist-in-Residence teaching the Patz Process Ceramic Technique to art students in grades 3-12 at The American School in Japan at Nomizu, Chofu-shi in Tokyo, Japan. While in Japan, Patz and her husband, Mike stayed in a traditional Japanese home and enjoyed the people and cultures of urban and rural Japan. Excursions to the countryside included the Historic Pottery village of Mashiko, Japan where the Fowle’s researched and studied the traditional Japanese potters, potteries and kilns.
In 2005 Fowle developed and coordinated the International Art Exchange of Ideas. This exchange was designed to broaden artistic visions between students with different cultures and backgrounds. The first exchange was implemented between two top ranked high schools; Tokyo's American School in Japan and the South Carolina Governor's School for Science and Mathematics in Hartsville, SC. USA. This successful program still continues today with other schools being added to the program.
* 2006 Patz Fowle is one of the Living Contemporary Sculptors featured in the award-winning contemporary sculpture book The Sculpture Reference written by renowned sculptor Arthur Williams.
In 2007 Fowle presented the Patz Process Ceramic Technique at the 2007 National Art Education Association Convention in New York City, New York.
* 2007 Ceramic sculpture by Fowle is notably featured in the hardcover book published by the American Ceramic Society titled China Paint and Overglaze by Paul Lewing
2007- 2008 and 2009 Fowle's ceramic sculpture was included in the “Palmetto Hands” Traveling Exhibition organized and presented by the City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department and the South Carolina State Museum.
* In 2008 Patz Fowle wrote and illustrated the book Remember When… This book is available through world-wide distribution on Amazon.com
In 2009 Fowle participated in the 2009 Kansas City Art Institute Educators ArtLab. (Focus of study: metal sculpture)
In 2008 and 2009 Fowle studied in the National Endowment for the Arts funded Teacher Institute in Contemporary Art at the SCHOOL OF THE ART INSTITUTE of CHICAGO. (08’-09’Focus of study: painting and drawing)
2010 Patz Fowle became a Mentor at the SCHOOL OF THE ART INSTITUTE of CHICAGO Teacher Institute in Contemporary Art, Chicago, Illinois
2010 Patz Process Ceramic Technique instructional DVD’s are created to inspire and chronicle South Carolina Traditions in the Ceramic Arts.
Patz and her husband, Mike, who is also an artist, share a working art studio and enjoy an exciting, fulfilling life together.