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Anina Banks

Award winning artist, Anina Banks, tells the story of how she rekindles her love for the arts and rediscovers her artistic talents using clay. Illustrated with her early works in clay, this narrative draws parallels between feelings from past relationships and her new found love for mud.

“from lost love to finding passion” Anina Banks No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author. The only exception is by a reviewer, who may quote short excerpts in a review. Copyright © 2012 Anina Banks. All rights reserved. ISBN 978-0-615-57084-6

Anina Banks has lived a life defying conventions while eschewing titles and definitions. And yet there remains one word to describe her: artist. A native of Nassau, Bahamas, she was born with the soul and hands of an artist. From an early age, Banks’ natural gifts were enhanced by intensive training in various fine arts mediums, including drawing, painting and print-making. A graduate of Drexel University, Banks, began working as a graphic designer in the corporate world and inadvertently took a break from producing traditional artwork. But her soul craved to create and the hiatus was short lived. Never one to shy away from a challenge, Banks shifted mediums completely, and began working solely with clay. Possessing a love for natural textures, primarily those found underwater or washed up on the shore, the pieces she began to form were beautifully eclectic, invoking images of conch and seashells, while simultaneously paying homage to her island upbringing and surroundings. - Diana Veiga, Writer and Friend

“from lost love to finding passion�

the allure

I still remember the first time I learned how to paint. My father taught me how to paint a pink rose using one of those elementary watercolor paint sets. He showed me how to finesse the brush in such a way that the petals emerged from the white spaces on the paper—using very little paint and water at first and letting it dry, only to paint another layer of color on top of it. He taught me patience and discretion.

It was magic!

Gone, 2010

Couple’s Breakfast - His and Hers, 2010

Only now that I am older do I realize I was on the right track throughout my childhood. As a child, I wore my passion on my sleeve and was eager to develop my artistic skills. In the tornado of falling in love, planning a shared future, and moving to the United States, I somehow lost that passion. Fast-forward a few years and I was forced to face the reality that my life lacked passion. To reclaim the passion that I once had, I had to start anew.

Suction Tilt, 2009

Before this self-revelation, almost a year prior, a friend showed me a flyer for pottery classes. I was excited because I thought it would be a nice shared experience with my mate. So I planned to wait until the perfect weeknight we were both available. That never happened. I was willing to rearrange my schedule to play with mud and he was not.

Collarded Lady, 2010

It took life falling apart before I started to hear destiny’s subtle whispers. If only I had known then what I know now. The class flyer had been a solo invitation for me. I called my friend, called the studio, and signed up for my first class.

It was time for me to begin living as the person I really wanted to be—an


the attraction

The first few times I said “I

am an artist” the words

sat heavily on my tongue. Signing up to work with clay was a big step for me. A painter turning to art by working with clay? It was easy to paint, whereas it was a challenge to work with clay; clay is temperamental. My mind was made up, though, I was going to be an artist. And to do so honestly, I had to begin developing a body of work. How can I be an artist without a body of work? I’ve got talent, but I needed inspiration. I was curious about whether I would find the inspiration I needed to work with clay.

Martini Pour and Sip, 2010

I was no longer in love, hundreds of miles away from family in the Bahamas, and searching for inspiration. At this challenging low point, I wondered if I should go home to the Bahamas. Was I truly ready for island life again? And, despite my sad state, the answer was no. I may not have been ready to return, but I definitely needed some island love. And it was during this time of internal struggle that I found my inspiration: home.

Sketchbook, meet coral reefs. The same night I found this inspiration, I sketched like a madwoman. Music blasting from the speakers, I could breathe.

I was alive.


I brought my sketches along to my first studio session, and I tried to play it cool. I was determined to create amazing pieces. At least that was the plan. I had something to say—20 pages of sketches and inspiring images, to be exact. It wasn’t long after the demo that it was time for one-on-one consults. This was my first time in class with the other regular students, so I knew I had a lot of groundwork.

As I made my way through the sketches of aquatic-inspired pieces, the instructor told me “some of your sketches may not be possible in clay and, as you work with clay, you’ll realize that drawing the forms is different from building the actual three dimensional forms.” She might as well have been talking to the coral-colored, sponge-painted walls because her words went in one ear and out the other.

She was right, though.

The two-dimensional drawings didn’t translate to three dimensional forms the way that I expected. It was so much more than that. The adaptation was amazing—it made me want to sketch even more!

Pour and Sip Series, 2009

Rose Thorns, 2010

That first night, during that first studio session, I attempted to create one of my sketches and the instructor, later a mentor, taught me a simple technique of paddling a round form. From the way she did it, you would think it was like blinking your eyes. The reality is, however, that it is much more complicated than it looked. It took me three attempts to achieve something that resembled a sphere. And this was only the first part of the design.

The week after that first class I had to figure out how I was going to re-create the spike texture of a blow fish I had envisioned. One deep breath and three hours later, I got it. I was going to create each spike individually. That’s right—I was going to spend the next three hours every week applying each spike, one by one. It was like slowly doing my hair and making sure each curl was strategically placed on my head.

Blown, 2008

Eight weeks later, after working three hours one night a week, my first piece was completely built. Not bisque-fired, but built. Everyone else had mugs, trays, and vases to glaze, and all I had was a small sphere with spikes. Moreover, I realized that even though my piece was built, there was a chance that it would not survive the first firing. Talk about reality check. Fortunately, my first piece was successfully bisque- and glaze-fired. To this day it is my most prized piece. And, most importantly, it is a visual representation of my inspiration and passion. And evidence that I was now becoming who I felt I was meant to be. An artist.

the courtship

Triple Crown, 2010

Working with clay was like falling in love again. I was creating a perfect harmony with my identity, purpose, and talent. I have friends who have been in love with mud for years and have managed to sustain twenty-yearlong relationships. Not surprising, I suppose, just like with any relationship, these friends will occasionally talk about the challenges of staying in love.

During my early courtship in this relationship, I would politely decline invite and after invite, slowly increasing the time dedicated to working with clay. And while working with clay every day, I ruminated about island life. The overlapping, sporadic patterns on oversized palms and the ripples of the salty, cool sea.

Tulip, 2008

Sea Twins, 2008

Graceful Acceptance, 2009

Simple Invitation, 2009

Mesmerized by color first, then by shape and form, and lastly, by texture. Texture felt more and more natural for me working with clay. It was quickly becoming my artistic language. But anyone who has worked with clay knows texture isn’t exactly the easiest surface to glaze. My artistic language had matured to be so rich in texture, the right finish was important. The last thing I wanted was for the finish to compete with the textural surface. I thought white with a little bit of blush would play nicely on the surface.

Cluster, 2008-09

Each round of firing, I was convinced that the winning test tile was in that batch. Little did I know, the winner would be a “happy-mistake.� The tile I liked the most was the result of a piece, covered with a glaze containing iron oxide, being placed next to mine in the firing.

Ridges, 2010

Glazing is nothing like painting. It is chemical. There is something magical that happens in the kiln and at this moment in the process, you have to just

“let go and let God�. Similar to relationships at times.

Children, 2010

It’s the allure, the courtship, the work, and the drama. The simplicity, and the complexity. The unexpected. I have fallen in love with clay and my relationship is simply...

Mother and Child, 2010


Mud love.

Featured Work Artichoke, 2009 - Private Owner Blown, 2008 - Artist Collection Children, 2010 - Private Owner(s) Cluster, 2008-09 - Private Owner Collared Lady, 2010 - Artist Collection Couple’s Breakfast - His and Hers, 2010 - Private Owner Graceful Acceptance, 2009 - Artist Collection Gone, 2010 - Artist Collection Martini Pour and Sip, 2010 - Artist Collection Pour and Sip Series, 2009 - Artist Collection Ridges, 2010 - Artist Collection Rose Thorns, 2010 - Private Owner Sea Twins, 2008 - Artist Collection Simple Invitation, 2009 - Artist Collection Suction Seduction, 2010 - Artist Collection Suction Tilt, 2009 - Artist Collection Triple Crown, 2010 - Artist Collection Tulip, 2008 - Artist Collection

Anina Banks

Award winning artist, Anina Banks, tells the story of how she rekindles her love for the arts and rediscovers her artistic talents using clay. Illustrated with her early works in clay, this narrative draws parallels between feelings from past relationships and her new found love for mud.


The online reviewer version.


The online reviewer version.