Charles Nagle (Alum)

Born 1959, Berkeley, California
Worked at Creative Growth 1980-2013

Beginning his artist career as a painter, Charles moved to new media such as embroidery and ceramics while at Creative Growth. The coiled ceramic towers that Charles crafts seem to be self-generating like stalagmites in a fantastical cave. Tending toward bright, polychromatic under-glazes, he sometimes obscures them with a thick white overcoat, resulting in a crackled surface that further calls to mind their geological nature. He considers the mysterious, organic forms as vases; yet even without function, their presence is commanding enough to succeed as a standalone.

As a separate oeuvre, Charles manipulates found clothing and accessories through layered, abstract embroidery. Working with a rainbow of threads and yarns, his textiles are much more tedious, taking weeks or months to finish one piece. The result, however, appears as if it were done in one furious session—the action painting of embroidery. Whether it’s aggregate ceramics or ambitious textile work, the sheer physicality of Charles’ work belies the man you meet in the studio.