Natalia Arbelaez – Sculpting Zoomorphic forms

Hello, my name is Natalia Arbelaez, and in this workshop I will be showing you how to make figures using coil and pinch

When you buy this workshop, you get:

  • Instant Access to Watch my pre-recorded Workshop
  • Bonus Q&A – Watch my bonus Q&A where I answered questions about my process face-to-face
  • Lifetime Access to the Replays – The workshop and the Q&A are recorded, and you will have lifetime access to it. You can watch it online, or download it to your device to watch offline at any time

After this workshop, you could be making beautiful work like this:

Natalia Arbelaez

About Natalia Arbelaez

Natalia Arbelaez is a Colombian American artist, born and raised in Miami, Florida to immigrant parents. She received her B.F.A. from Florida International University and her M.F.A. from The Ohio State University, with an Enrichment Fellowship. In 2016-2017 she was a Rittenberg Fellow at Clay Art Center; Port Chester, New York and was awarded the Inaugural Artaxis Fellowship that funded a residency to Watershed in Newcastle, ME. Her work has been exhibited internationally, in museums, galleries, and included in various collections, such as the Everson Museum and MAD Museum. She has been recognized by NCECA as a 2018 Emerging Artist and was a 2018-19 resident artist at the Ceramics Program at, Harvard University where she researched pre-Columbian art and histories. Natalia was an artist in residence at the Museum of Art and Design in New York City where she researched the work of historical and influential women ceramicists of color and continues this research as a Visiting Artist at AMOCA in Pomona, CA.


In my work, I am a  storyteller. I am telling narratives about my Colombian family’s immigration, the pre-Columbian South American presence, and my American latchkey, after school cartoon childhood. All of these stories work together to create a multicomponent self-portrait of what it is like to be a Mestizo Colombian-American hybrid. Mining tidbits from historical research, familial narratives, and cartoon culture, I create surreal stories in clay much in the way Gabriel García Márquez did with words, autobiographically narrating history with its ups and downs, its humor and tears. 

Making my work is an act of revealing undervalued histories from Latin American, Amerindian and Women of Color. These identities are lost through conquest, migration, and time, then gained through family, culture and exploration, and finally passed down through tradition, preservation, and genetic memory. I have found value in my histories and aim to help preserve my cultures by honoring them through my artwork. 

In my historical and cultural studies of lost, conquered, and overlooked communities, I have found that craft and clay belong in my pursuit, and I’ve embraced it. I relate to the role of the craftsperson, which is often linked to women’s work, working class, and cultural tradition. Furthermore, my primary medium, my ancestral terracotta, has historically been considered a lesser material and the white glossy Majolica glaze that was brought over from Europe was used as a surface to hide the iron-rich clay body. I use this material as a metaphor to describe colonization and its impact on me as an immigrant. 

Other symbols in my work reflect aspects of my history that I have absorbed and personalized through my research. I often pair materials to intentionally speak of hierarchy and value disparities, such as juxtaposing gold next to terracotta. These two materials are found in the same Colombian mountains and rivers but one of the materials is deemed valuable and the other is not. When covering the terracotta in white majolica glaze, I make sure to leave portions of the bare clay exposed as a reminder that even though our history and ancestry has been whitewashed,  our indigenous ancestry still remains. My goal is to reveal the truths and challenges of our past and present, forging a path for a more hopeful future.  

Instagram: @natalia_arbelaez_

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Workshop Includes

  • 2 Lessons

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