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A passion for color and pattern is what fuels my work as an artist. A love of clay grounds me in my work as in clay. Influenced by collage, textile, and painting, I map out and divide the surface of my clay forms using different patterns and colors in order to enhance visual richness and depth. I use a sgraffito technique for my vine decoration as a illustrative way to create a flow around the form. I hand paint the repeating colorful patterns in my work using wax resist and underglazes in multiple layers when the clay is leather hard to create a more interactive tactile and visual feel of pattern on clay.
My vessels are wheel thrown using about 16 lbs of white earthenware, while the bowls are slab built. After forming, the pieces are refined to achieve the smoothest surface possible for designing and painting. The imagery of women and animals comes from a life long interest in how we as human beings interact with our natural world;the plants and animals around us, and how we choose to integrate their aspects into our daily lives, through stories,ritual, history, craft, food, or family. The figurative themes are not meant to represent a particular culture or race, rather, all of us. These pieces also reflect my interest in the ingenuity and art of beautifully crafted clothing,tools, and other necessities of life.The animal images are more elemental, just using black,white, and touches of color. In all of my designs, pattern is a compelling dynamic. Pieces are painted with a slip which when burnished results in a lustrous surface, next they are carved, bisque fired, and lightly smoked
I build functional pots out of white stoneware. My tools are simple: a knife, a serrated metal rib, a sponge, a brush. All of my work is hand-built from slabs of clay. I love working with slabs like fabric; the pots are sewn together, scored along the edges, nipped and tucked together to make rounded forms from sheets of clay. Using a Chinese calligraphy brush, I paint bone dry pots with under-glaze stains, which act like an ink wash or watercolors on the absorbent surface of the clay. I scratch and carve into the drawings, adding and removing details. The pin tool is both pencil and eraser, adding white to the drawing. I use wax to create motifs that are reminiscent of printed patterns. I love the immediacy of the connection people make with images of animals. Pattern and color anchor my animals to the pots. They serve as frames, and backgrounds, so that the animals exist in their own narrow space around the pots.
My decorative vessels are studies in simplicity and grace of form. The juxtaposition of textures and colors enliven each other and the luminosity of the the interior surface attracts the viewer to the bottomless feel they possess. The bowl form, while normally utilitarian, is a sculptural element, a contemplative object.
I look for the historical, cultural, and the contemporary significance of things made from clay. My work is a marriage of form and imagery in ceramics. The conversation of form is about fluidity, intuition, intention, grace and purpose. The forms that I make are largely functional. The images that envelop them are generated from my own photography. The results are surreal narratives that are open to subjective interpretation. As you view and explore a piece, the significance of individual images and the overall story lines will change over time. My hope is to elicit an ongoing sense of surprise and foster an evolving relationship with the piece.
As I applied slip to a pot, my brush fell and broke my work into five pieces. I told myself this might be a happy accident. I fired each piece in a separate container with different combustibles. Intrigued by the results, I continued to break my work on purpose. Each shard is decorated with terra sigillata, stamps, copper tape or wire. They are packed into saggars, covered clay containers, with combustible materials soaked in solutions of salt, iron, cobalt, or copper oxides. The saggars are fired in a gas kiln. After cooling, the shard pieces are epoxied together to reform the original shape. My work emphasizes the relationships of the pieces to each other and to the whole. I am interested in working with contrasts of light and dark, quiet and busy, and placement of line and shape. The use of abstract and recognizable image and words are important. My walks in the woods, lakes and coastal shorelines, and my childhood memories of the Rocky Mountains, influence my creative process.
I work primarily with wheel-thrown porcelain and terra cotta. The large vessel forms selected here are sectionally thrown using an adaptation of a technique I observed in Arita, Japan, while studying with Japanese Living Nat'l Treasure potter, Inoue Manji. After joining sections, and while still moist, each vessel's surface is brushed with a varied palette of clay slips, yielding rich, low luster finishes that uniquely capture the individual characteristics of the fire. My goal has been to celebrate the elemental nature of the clay through the quiet strength and classic beauty of the finished pot.
My career with clay has been a relatively short one- fourteen years- but the act of creating and capturing volume has been a long one- thirty years- as an architectural designer. Through this profession I am able to answer my need to manipulate environments; working with clay addresses this need as well. I hand build from slabs of porcelain clay. I create series of functional pieces: trays, ewers and vessels. The majority of these pieces are comprised of two slabs of clay joined at the edges leaving a “pocket” of volume inside. I visualize the shapes in terms of elevations and edges. The “pocket” of volume contrasts with the sharp edges of the profile. Most all of these pieces employ the use of slip (liquid clay) in in either black or white. Designs are created through different methods: sgrafitto, paper stencil, and texture. My pieces are twice fired using a clear matte glaze or left unglazed.
There are a number of ideas that I deal with in my work, and they are continually evolving. Presentation is one. How does one put an object into the world yet separate it from the world? My resolution of this formalist concern resulted in my use of black bases. Another concern is the idea of control, which in my case takes the form of refusing to let the fire have the last word. So, much of the embellishment of these pieces is done after the firing, i.e. the paint and the gold. And finally, beauty. There is a large amount of suffering in the world. If, when somebody sees my work they feel some pleasure that is success.
Over the last 15 years, I have tested over 13,000 glazes. All the glazes I use are my own discoveries. I am constantly in search of new formulas to use for my glazes. i use wheel-thrown, porcelain bodies to create forms that reflect the delicate balance found in nature with the intricate beauty of the glazes.
Functional craft can bring great satisfaction and beauty to everyday life. As a practical potter who loves food, my passion for tableware is natural. I credit many influences for my design sensibilities: early Korean and Japanese pottery, my architectural studies, and an appreciation for simplicity instilled by my mother. I am particularly indebted to Taiwanese master Ah leon, who demystified the unique complexities of the teapot vessel -- the potter's highest challenge in combining function, form and, ultimately, beauty. All work is made of porcelaineous clay thrown on the potter's wheel. I fire in oxidation to 2230 degrees (cone 8).
My work is hand built from white earthenware using coil, pinch, and slab construction. A fine clay slip-terra sigillata- is applied, the work is polished, and then smoke fired. I am drawn to the naked or simply clad clay pot. Just as a woman’s silk slip emphasizes every curve and crevice of her body, terra sigillata shows off the nuances of the clay surface and highlights its form. Its reflective satin sheen contrasts with the light absorbing, matte surface of the bare clay. It is the play between shine and matte, texture and smooth, interior and exterior, that interests me.
The beauty of the forms and textures in the plant world initially seduced me to carve botanical images into the surface of my pots. “Botany of Desire” by Michael Pollan inspired me to explore botanical imagery beyond its beauty, to the reciprocal relationship between Man and plants and its affects on the delicate balances in the nature. The carved floral images on my pots bring invasiveness, endangerment, and symbiotic relationships, issues in the plant world, into our domestic settings. I employ a complex process to translate this to the surface of my pots. I begin by throwing a porcelain form on the potter’s wheel. I then create the bas-relief botanical images by carving into the partially dry, leather hard clay. The exterior of my work is unglazed. Each piece is hand polished after the first firing, the bisque, and again after the final high temperature firing to achieve a smooth marble like sheen to encourage touch. The intimate gardens on my pots speak to the importance of main
The black and white sgraffito pots of 12th century China draw my attention like no other period. The forms are strong. The nature designs of plants and animals are imaginative. This information has been a stepping-stone for my work. The ginkgo leaves featured on my pots also have an ancient origin. The trees symbolize strength and endurance as the oldest living tree form. By using porcelain and traditional celadon glazes with my sgraffito patterns, I feel an artistic connection to ancient pottery aesthetics in a modern world.
Marvin was bestowed with tremendous artistic talent. By 1989, pottery was Marvin’s medium of choice and also his only form of income. He was initially drawn to the pueblo-style carved pottery with gloss and matte black finishes, famously known in the Southwest as “Black-on-Black” pottery. Initially successful with the traditional Black-on-Black style, Marvin’s pursuit of his own style slowly began to evolve. In the mid 1990's he developed a two-tone technique by adding a layer of a colored clay slip and then carving exceptional detailed designs through the slip to the base color of the pot. It involved multiple firings and yet even more labor was necessary in each pot. As Marvin’s techniques evolved, more layers of color were added and the designs have become more intricate.