Artist K. Tauches in her studio, photographs by Isadora Pennington

The energy in the House of Tau is electric. Inside a small salmon-colored house in Cabbagetown, music is playing from a computer that sits on a table near the front door that is strewn with clippings and papers. The walls are lined with art, and every counter and tabletop is home to numerous ceramic pieces in varying stages of completion. On any given slip of paper are hand-written notes on process, meaning, and artistic principles. This is the workspace of ceramic artist K. Tauches. 

Tauches is the 2022 Artist in Residence at the Blue Heron Nature Preserve, a 30-acre greenspace in North Buckhead just off Roswell Road. Since 2016, advisors from the Blue Heron Advisory Board have brought on a new artist each year to conceptualize and implement art projects throughout the property. For the first three months of 2022, Tauches explored the grounds of the Preserve and got to know not just the land but also the animals, plants, and energies that call these wetlands home.

“Natural areas in the city are essential for the peace of mind of the community,” explained Tauches, who says she is most at home in nature. The Blue Heron Nature Preserve offered a unique opportunity to work with nature while maintaining her connections to the city and her community. She told me that she wanted to serve the land, and hoped to map out areas at the Preserve that were “energy points.” She did so by enlisting energy-sensitive friends to come and walk the grounds with her on what she called “outdoor office hours.” During those early days, Tauches committed herself to becoming familiar with the Preserve in order to inform her work. 

As someone who is in tune with psychic vibrations and energies, Tauches began to gain a true sense of the importance of the Blue Heron Nature Preserve. Not only is the property crucial to the local environment, offering wetlands, creeks, woodlands, and meadows, but it also has historical importance for early settlers of the area, enslaved people, and Native Americans dating back thousands of years. 

Tauches explained that natural water sources like Nancy Creek were often used as pathways in the days before roads and streets. Connecting land-locked areas like Atlanta to the coast, many emancipated people relied upon these waterways as a lifeline. They also provided essential access to fresh water for humans and the animals that they hunted for their survival. As such, creeks and rivers hold onto a lot of energy and history, and she wanted to explore these concepts during her residency.

Today, as development of roads, homes, and businesses continue to explode around it, the Blue Heron Nature Preserve has managed to maintain its status as a respite. Many visitors travel from across the city to walk its peaceful trails, rest in the shade of the old growth trees, and pay quiet homage to the ecosystems that are all too easy to forget when you’re in the comfort of your high rises and office buildings.  “Everything disappears. There are a lot of things that are invisible but we feel; there’s this wavelength of visibility to invisibility. Our culture doesn’t really appreciate the quiet parts. Nature is a part of quieting down and connecting with our invisible parts.”

“What I’m doing now is synthesizing what I received,” Tauches continued. She collected materials such as reeds, glass from the beaches of the creek, and even modern pottery shards that ended up mixed in with the sand and silt of the waterway. “The river pulls all the fragments of a culture,” said Tauches. 

One way that Tauches channels her psychic abilities is through something she refers to as “psychic clippings,” which are pages she finds in magazines and publications. And it’s not only the first image that speaks to her, it’s often also whatever is on the backside of the page. Whether it is text, an advertisement, a portrait, or a photograph of an interior space, Tauches can glean valuable insight from this kind of reading. 

Today, Tauches is a ceramic artist, but that is only her latest artistic passion. For much of her career she was a freelance graphic designer and was heavily invested in local galleries. She has been a contributing writer and designer for, co-creator and co-founder of { Poem 88 } gallery, director and guest curator of Kiang Gallery, exhibition designer of the David J. Sencer CDC Museum, and an 8-year term as the Creative Director at the Forward Arts Foundation Gallery (Swan Coach House Gallery). 

“I was in the scene, and also an artist,” explained Tauches, who told me about how she had worked her way up in the local gallery circuit. Though she had always wanted to work in ceramics she felt it would be difficult to make a living that way, so instead she focused on more reliable design work. In time, it was apparent to Tauches that she would need to move on to something else. “More and more the commercial first systems and politics of art were just so stressful. I was doing less creative work every year, less of the soulful part of why I did art. I needed a new outlet, something that was less stressful, and for me that was ceramics.”

Ceramics not only offers relief from the digital world that had consumed her career, it also requires her to work with her hands. Tauches is half-Italian and half-Lithuanian, and she feels connected to her grandmothers who loved to cook every time she works with clay. 

“My ancestors really speak to me through what I do with my hands. I grew up with my Italian grandmother who was always in the kitchen, cooking and cleaning. I ended up using those skills in a very transmuted way. I have always made work about land, use of materials, the environment, and community. These are the values that I hold dear.”

House of Tau, Tauches’ ceramic line, features hand crafted pieces that are a variety of sizes and shapes. From small dishes that fit in the palm of one’s hand to large wall hangings, functional items such as jugs, pictures printed on ceramic squares, and pieces that incorporate haunting elements such as ceramic chains, her work is evocative and creative. Symbols and images that carry special meanings are delicately painted and transferred onto the finished pieces. Much of Tauches’ work bridges the gap between art and utility, asking the viewer to consider whether those items should be put to use or kept purely for display. 

Ultimately, Tauches’ residency at Blue Heron Nature Preserve was a great fit. With the land offering rejuvenation and inspiration for Tauches, this year has pushed her to explore even more of her motivations and passions for ceramics and local history. Blue Heron Nature Preserve continues to provide an essential connection with the natural world, and their artist residency program offers a unique way for creatives to engage with the land and the local ecosystem. 

The Blue Heron Nature Preserve is located at 4055 Roswell Road just across the street from Pike Nursery. Free and open to the public, visitors can explore the grounds on winding paths and boardwalks that wind through the property. If you’d like to learn more about K. Tauches’ art and House of Tau, visit her website.

Isadora Pennington is a freelance writer and photographer based in Atlanta. She is the editor of Sketchbook by Rough Draft, a weekly Arts newsletter.