Our Cover Artist

Debra Fritts


Have you ever stared at an optical illusion puzzle? After a few seconds your eyes are seeing double, and triple layers at the same time. You try to focus and interesting things start to happen. You can see patterns not available on your first view of the puzzle.

When you gaze at a Debra Fritts ceramic sculpture, a similar thing happens. First the (remarkable) eyes pull you in. Soon you begin to see layers of human experience revealed. It is a kind of optical illusion puzzle of the psyche. You feel as if you are seeing the history, the stories of individual people going back to the totality of everything they have seen and been. Then if you look long enough, you see the connection this history has to our collective past. Importantly, you can, if you are still able to look, see yourself and everything you have seen and been.

One obvious reason for this intense effect is that Fritts is a master at capturing the complexity of human emotion in the eyes, facial, and body expressions of the people she builds in clay. A second and perhaps less obvious reason is that she layers on these people, rich organic black lines in unexpected places, making a play of light and shadow with intense texture that produces a striking visual reaction in our eyes.  She layers on subtle color that can add more levels to visually interact with the black lines. One sees the complexity in the whole, as in the optical illusion puzzle. Her work strikes deep. It is more novel than short story.

THIS is what I want art to do.

Teresa Toole

The Ringworks Studio



As a child, I had dirt under my fingernails and spent hours playing in the mud.  Today I continue to allow the earth to feed me information for my art.   Working intuitively from pounds of wet red clay, forms appear and stories develop.  I may be questioning an occurrence or celebrating a relationship or just being aware of the precious environment.  The search continues until I reach the core: the spiritual level of the sculpture.  Then the work can speak.  At the present, I am exploring new territory in Abiquiu, New Mexico while embracing my southern heritage.  Often symbols are used in the work such as the color red or three dots to honor my mother or the raven as a symbol for my new life in the west.  I am “touching ground”, getting to the basics, listening and learning.


Each sculpture is hand built, using thick coils, and fired three to five times depending on the color and surface I am trying to achieve.  I approach the color on the clay as a painter.  My palette is a combination of oxides, slips, underglazes, and glazes.  The form of the piece informs the type of surface treatment.


Debra Fritts

Debra Fritts – bio


Debra Fritts is a studio artist working in Abiquiu, New Mexico.  She received her undergraduate degree in Art Education from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and continued graduate studies in ceramic sculpture, painting and printmaking.  Debra conducts master classes and workshops nationally


Debra enjoys national recognition for her work in ceramic sculpture through invitational exhibitions and awards, museum exhibitions, gallery representation, private collections and publications.  Her sculptures were included in “Form and Imagination”, honoring women ceramic sculptors at the American Museum of Ceramic Art, Pomona, California and in the permanent collection at the Fuller Museum in Massachusetts and in the Georgia Artist Collection at Georgia Southern University.  Debra’s sculptures have been displayed at SOFA Chicago, SOFA New York, and Palm Beach 3 along with gallery presentation through out the U.S. Her one of a kind sculptures are hand-built and multiple fired with a painterly glazed surface.  The work is a continuous story of awareness and the celebration of daily living.

 Our Cover Artist

John Tollett

LOVE and TRUST is the idea behind everything The Ringworks Studio stands for. An art piece, a wedding ring, and anything one can dream up, when worn on the body symbolizes some form of love and trust. It can be between two people, many people, or within oneself. It is one kind of glue. Without love or trust there is nothing to keep us functioning as cultures.

With celebration and faith in this idea, we launched the project: OUR COVER ARTISTS

John Tollett is out first artist. John has had a long career in graphic design and is an accomplished cartoonist. He is a Louisiana native, living in Santa Fe, with a great southern voice and dry sense of humor. He is active in life drawing and plein air groups in the city.

John has been working on finding new ways to express his graphic art work, such as printing on metal using digital technology.

You can get a taste of John’s work by clicking the links below.

Teresa Toole

The Ringworks Studio





Our Cover Artist

Meri Fox-Szauter

The Ringworks Studio welcomes our new cover artist, Meri Fox-Szauter.

Meri recently graduated from Southwest University of Visual Arts as the Valedictorian of her class.She is a graphic designer with a passion for avian life. Meri holds a B.A. in Art and History, and a Masters in Medieval History. She often works in colored pencils and inks. Meri lived for many years on the coast of Maine, and now lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

When you see Meri’s work, you understand her deep connection to the natural world and bird life. Birds are an apt metaphor for life in the world around us that we can observe but only know by observation. They are vulnerable to our predation, the thoughtless attitudes of our species toward the web of life, but they are survivors living out their own lives. They can show us the way, or at least give us some survival lessons, some joy, if we take the moment to observe them. Meri does this with her crows. Science believes that Corvids are among the most intelligent of the avian species. Much is still to be learned about birds, of course. It is evident that Meri’s birds are intelligent!

Meri’s birds are living their lives as we live ours. In some of her pieces you can see them communicating with each other, and in others they are pondering. Are they like the heron in Black Marsh Eclogue by Sam Hamill, “watching the hearts of things”? In this cover art they are close to the way I see how love and trust can be. Thanks for that, Meri!



Everything casts its own shadow; light, emotion, time. We move through these shadows day in and day out, and we shape our lives accordingly. I have long been fascinated, as artists are, by the effect of light on objects and the shadows they cast. But I have also studied the shadows that echo from strong emotions, the comparatively peaceful ones that emanate from the quieter, calmer emotions.

Sunlight leaves an interesting array of shadows as it moves over a potted plant, or peeks over the edge of the ocean to strike Otter Cliffs. A peaceful evening or a dance in a gentle wind also are worthy of attention, and therefore I spend my time attempting to catch these moments of light, shadow, reflection and introspection.
— Meri Fox-Szauter