Pattie Chalmers grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the geographic center of Canada. It was there that she completed a B.A. in History and a B.F.A. in printmaking from the University of Manitoba. Chalmers received her M.F.A. in ceramics at the University of Minnesota in 2001. Chalmers works steadily and exhibits widely, having presented her work in 6 countries on 5 continents and in 26 U.S. states. These shows include installations of the her “Mudmaid Museum” in Minneapolis and Philadelphia, the 67th Scripps Ceramic Annual, “Making Fun” in Claremont, California and a McKnight Artists exhibition at Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis.
Since 2006, Chalmers has lived and worked in Carbondale, where she is an associate professor of art at Southern Illinois University.
“The pottery I make depicts images culled from childhood tales, four-for-a-dollar comic books, movies-of-the-week and family photo albums. My work is a collage of these influences in combination with historical and imagined elements that reveal my observations about identity and ideologies. The synthesis is personal but the images are given in familiar language: true loves, devoted siblings or best friends for example. This functional work reveals my contradictory nature: porcelain and terra cotta, hand-built and wheel-thrown, high-fire and low-fire. The choice is about warmth or coolness, softness or crispness. It is about wanting to do it all and getting to do it all. Making pottery allows alternate access to the narratives I depict in sculpture and drawings—an opportunity for more people to experience and interact with my work and that is pleasing to me.”