Balance between wheel throwing and slab construction is the primary focus of my work. Developing these two methods simultaneously allows a fresh creative approach, which promotes spontaneity in the form. Similarities between these two methods are strikingly apparent when considering the soft gestural movements in clay and their dialogue with each individual kiln they inhabit.
Approaching my more functional work on the wheel I attempt to convey the qualities of clay by allowing the form to speak of its existence through the evidence of artist and medium in collaboration. In doing so, marks of the hand and ribbing tool are intentionally left to remind the viewer of its origin. With this philosophy in mind I choose to let the piece speak for its self by not intruding upon it with elaborate layering and decorating. I strive to create a humble aura that invites interaction between owner and object, which facilitates its use. Again, it is the clays inherent qualities that fascinate me the most.
Describing the surface of my large textural forms, a visual account of my life growing up, and now residing on a farm in southwest Iowa can be seen and felt within. The strong horizontal relief texture evident in the slab reflects the long winding rows of corn and beans against the horizon. The flat grassy end rows, deep crossing creeks, and valleys in the pasture are also very apparent upon gazing into the slab. These heart felt connections between the clay slabs and my experiences on the farm awaken my fascination when working with this texture.
As a ceramic artist I feel a strong awareness of the material and myself when working with this textural surface. The movement felt by the texture evokes thoughts of long striations of clay found under the earths crust, and the millions of years it took to decay and erode rock into this physical medium. The ability to reverse this decaying process back into stone and record its powerful force upon nature creates a symbolic statement about my work and myself.
My aesthetic judgment to firing my slab-constructed work in the wood kiln is in response to the direct dramatic atmospheric forces and unpredictability that the wood kiln can offer. Again, symbolisms of destructible forces in our own atmosphere and its relationship to the recycling of the earths materials becomes a direct statement of my use of nature and its profound effect on my life. The colors achieved when firing with wood is crucial to the outcome of the textural forms. Colors of red, orange, brown, gold, and blue are all colors associated with the fall season and are sought after. Soft flashing marks and drippy ash create a dialogue between the ware in the kiln and the fire imposed upon them. The fascination in creating a new dialogue within each individual firing creates an awareness of artist as author, and in doing so each firing becomes a chapter in my life as a ceramic artist.
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