Carissa Doying’s love of drawing and making things started when she was a young girl and inspired her to complete a master’s degree in fine arts.
For many years, Doying was a stay-at-home mom, and after her divorce, with four children, she managed to work part-time and attend classes. Even though it was a struggle, she continued her education graduating with a BFA from Augusta State University in ceramic sculpture and a MFA from the University of South Carolina—Columbia.
After graduation, Doying taught classes at USC-Aiken, Winthrop University and Augusta State University. Her teaching career spanned ten years and her students ranged in ages from 18- to 70-years-old. She stopped teaching a couple of years ago due to her husband’s health.
“My husband was very supportive and helped me put my studio together,” she said. “It is a great studio and I can work at home but I really miss my students. Being around students was so much fun— seeing their excitement, honoring their openness and finding a way to stand beside them and say, ‘yes, that’s it!’”
She is in the studio every day and is disciplined in the time she spends there. Graduate school, where she was expected to be in the studio working, taught her the discipline to work in the studio daily.
She described her work as organic and “took a Master Gardener course because I am interested in the outdoors and the way plants grow, especially succulents. They have such strong sculptural elements. I love them. I work intuitively and the work begins initially with a drawing. Sometimes the words to describe a piece cannot be articulated until after the piece is finished. I work in clay, making hand built pieces although sometimes I throw on the wheel also. Sculpting is what I do, what I love. I enjoy the work, the experimentation, and the clay. Even though I am inspired by natural objects, I don’t replicate what I see. I try to show how the pieces make me feel.”
Doying said her work is three-dimensional and “most people are comfortable looking at artwork that is flat because it is more like reading a book. However, three-dimensional pieces because they have a form, as do we, it is easier to project the physical, emotional and intellectual aspects of ourselves on the art.”
Her work is represented in several galleries on the coast, including Nina Liu and Friends in Charleston, S.C. and she hopes to build a Web site soon. She is looking forward to becoming more involved in the local art community.
Reach Doying at