About Gayle Tustin – Ceramist and Mixed Media Artist

Gayle Tustin was born in New Castle and grew up in Sharpsville, PA. She has been fascinated with art since early childhood, cutting up old wallpaper books and magazines for pasting into collage assemblages, to making mud pies in the backyard.

Penn State University laid the foundation for her ceramic work as well as Alfred University in NY, after initially completing an Associate Degree in business from Robert Morris University, PA. Tustin is the first person to graduate with honors in Studio Art from the University of North Carolina Wilmington in 1996.

She has participated in numerous artist colonies including Northern Macedonia, Spain, Germany, Brazil, and South Africa. She is responsible for helping to create the No Boundaries International Art Colony, a gathering of local and international artists that meet annually on Bald Head Island to make art.

Tustin has been commissioned for donor tile memorial projects in Wilmington by the Lower Cape Fear Hospice including “Celebration of Life I, II & III” and “Safe Passages”, as well as “Bountiful Life I – VI” in Whiteville. Her ceramic relief commissioned works can be seen in Raleigh at the NC State Bar Foundation, “ We are the People of North Carolina” and Novant Health in Winston-Salem, “With Compassionate Care” and “Landscapes from Memory”.

For more information about Gayle’s extraordinary art, see her Artist’s Statement below and read “Freedom, Fluidity, and Flow: The Life and Work of Gayle Tustin” by Fritts Causby in Wrightsville Beach Magazine, September 2023.

Artist Statement

Art has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. I am a nonrepresentational ceramist, sculptor, painter, collage and assemblage artist. My 3-D art includes hand-building vessel sculpture, relief wall tiles, and other three-dimensional objects. My 2-D art includes mixed media art with acrylic and oil paint, graphite, collage, sgraffito, sewing, found objects, birch bark, India ink, sailing charts, and more.

When I begin a piece, a progression of conscious and unconscious decisions starts my process. Experimentation is always important … feeling the force of my imagination along the way. Much of my inspiration comes from my environment, travel sketchbooks, the great outdoors, books, dreams, conversations, museums, trash treasures found in the street, gesture sketches, swimming, long walks, antique stores and more.

My latest work is a series of ceramic narrative vessel sculptures in red earthenware, inspired by native drums. My clay process has various steps with some pieces taking months to complete. The ceramic works are multi-kiln fired with terra sigillata (earth seal) and oxide patinas as well as silica glazes. They have a beautiful “ancient” look and feel about them. I spent years testing the possibilities of “terra sig” and oxide combinations to complete a library of 100’s of test tiles that I continue to use as guides for color effects.