Testa, who specializes in elegant porcelain sculptures, sits as the vice president of the Clay Guild, an organization who educates the public about the ceramic arts. She also has worked as an art specialist at Robert Lake Elementary in Las Vegas since 1987.
“Teaching plays an important role in everyday life,” said Testa. “I’m impassioned in what I do and I teach from my heart. It’s rewarding see the expressions on my student’s faces when they create a beautiful piece of artwork.”
Testa’s signature, yet unique, pieces are hand-crafted out of the finest quality porcelain and features delicate edges, a variety of textures and beautiful colored glazes. Her art is a personal interpretation of the graceful beauty of nature and has been displayed at many galleries, juried shows and exhibitions in Nevada, California and Arizona. She has also been highlighted in many publications like Design & Architecture Magazine and Las Vegas Home & Design. She may be reached at her studio in Las Vegas at 702 302-7194 or her website at www.windancerstudio.com
Each piece is crafted by hand of the finest quality porcelain. Porcelain is white in color and considered by many to be the queen of clays. It is extremely durable, with elegant translucency when thin. Porcelain is the ideal clay body to use with my signature style as it lends itself well to forming the delicate edges of my work without breaking.
I start with a pinch pot and pull the edges until they get very thin. The piece is dried in a damp cabinet until it reaches the “leatherhard” state. This means the clay is not quite dry; it holds its form, and maybe carved and shaped. I carve away a good portion of the original form and then place the piece in a special drying cabinet. The piece could take anywhere from 3 days to 3 weeks to dry slowly and completely. After the clay is completely air-dried it is called “greenware”. At this point, I use a dremel to carve texture into the piece. Some pieces I sand smooth. Then I date and sign each piece with my studio mark. The clay is fired in the kiln to cone 04, which is about 1922 degrees F. This is called bisque firing. The clay is called bisque ware when it is finished.
The second firing is called a glaze firing. A glaze is a suspension fluid of various chemicals formulated to melt at a specific temperature and designed to achieve various colors and textures. Some glazes I use are commercial glazes, bought in the dry form. With these glazes I add my own chemicals to achieve variety of colors and textures. When time permits I also mix my own glazes from recipes I have collected over the years. The glaze is carefully applied with a pressurized spray gun. Sometimes I apply two or three different glazes together. At this point the clay is loaded into my kiln and fired a second time to cone 10, which is about 2340 degrees F. This is the final step in the process.