Oksana Litvinova Cartwright is originally from Siberia, Russia, and now lives and works in North Little Rock. Traditional Russian pottery has always fascinated her, and she got a real chance to learn how to work with clay at the Museum School at the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts in Little Rock. She became a dedicated ceramics artist, eager to endlessly learn new techniques and incorporate them into her work, creating unique designs. Always wanting to further improve her technique, she has also studied in workshops with nationally recognized clay artists such as Bede Clarke, Ron Meyers, Sandy Simon, and Robert Brady.
Cartwright’s work has been a finalist in numerous juried exhibitions at the Fine Arts Center in Hot Springs, and she is a member of the Arkansas League of Artists. Her work is included in private collections locally and nationally, as well as in Russia, Japan, India, the Czech Republic, and France.
Pottery has become my all-time favorite hobby; I call it a hobby because making a living out of it is almost impossible. Each piece takes so long to make that the job pays 10 cents an hour, as potters like to joke. But, I love it! I love the feel of clay; I love to play with the changing forms; I love it all. Sometimes I dream of ideas for potential decorations. Anything I see will immediately transform to thoughts of how I could incorporate the given elements into my pots, cups, or teapots. I always like a challenge to recreate an idea I saw—recently it has been traditional Russian designs, original household wares, and patterns from various textured surfaces. After long weeks of working on a piece and firing, it’s always a delight to pick up my new pieces of art from the kiln. The final outcome may be utterly different than what I had intended or expected to achieve; the element of the unknown in each firing is exhilarating. Since the beginning of my clay-making endeavors, I’ve noticed that my Russian cultural background has had a large influence on my work; my “sense of beauty” is slightly different, which adds uniqueness to my work. Originally, I’m a molecular biologist, and molecular work requires a great deal of steady precision and delicate manipulations. You can certainly say I have “good hands”!
I make utilitarian pots for everyday life—pots you serve in, store in, and drink out of. Every one of us is unique, has only one life, and deserves to use unique things to celebrate ourselves every day.