I have long been a fan of the process of creation. Specifically, in clay, this is the case for me. The successful execution of a process with extreme amounts of technical skill, care, attention to detail, and a rationale for consideration of aesthetics, are the most important aspects of my work. My interest in technical skill transcends my artwork and moves into the realm of what drives me to be an educator. For me, as a potter, this means mastering the wheel, which is what I have spent the last decade attempting to do. It is the driving force for my work, and is a tool I have dedicated my professional life to. I began as a very tight, technically efficient thrower, creating traditional dinnerware. As I began to pursue atmospheric firing more seriously, the weight of my pots intentionally began to increase. As I continue delving into clay, I find more and more required subtleties in the construction phase. For me, it all begins with the wheel.
“Technique and skills must be absorbed and wrapped up and put away to become such an integral part of yourself that they will be revealed in your work without your thought .” -Shoji Hamada
Embracing the idea that I wanted my work to be comfortable, was easy. It makes sense. “Form and Function” is a handy phrase to remember for any potter, assuming you are making pots for this reason. I wanted more from my work. I wanted to elevate my work to a higher level. Because of my upbringing in clay, from instructors such as Gil Stengel of Burlington, KY, USA, and Ben Clark and Jon Stein of Cincinnati OH, USA, being un-hesitant and obtainingthe confidence of mark-making are everything. The difficult part is getting there. It is creating the many many pots required.
I have an interest in making work that exposes the clay. The function of this work is not taken away, yet it is wildy manipulated and changed, with its various alterations. I am showing the viewer a story. In this story, I decide from the beginning where I am going to take this pot.
From my experience, it is most difficult to make intentional flaws look pleasing, aesthetically. That is where playing the game, making the pots, and absorbing clay as a material, by process of creating over and over again. As Gil Stengel told me very early on in my career: “There are 3 phases to learning clay. 1. You don't know what you don't know. 2. You know what you don't know. 3. You know.
Hopefully I can know someday.