CONTEXT

I feel grateful to have come to a medium so grounded in the earth and at the mercy of the natural world. Clay, just another name for the humble mud, is dug out of the ground, shaped by human hands, and submitted to the wild unpredictability of fire to take form. It never ceases to amaze me.

I hand build because the irregularities, indents, and fingerprints are evidence of clay's partnership with the human hand to take form. Before the electric wheel and kiln, communities throughout the world had developed advanced methods of shaping clay into functional, durable forms. Those longstanding techniques are what interest me most and where I feel the enchanting ancientness of the practice of clay truly lies. Studying from two communities who's perspective on clay are so fundamentally different has shaped and balanced my own. Japan - where the clay and the objects formed from them are so deeply precious and valued, the bottom of each work perhaps more important than the piece itself, where the shape of the foot and the artist's signature determine the piece's worth. Mexico - where clay is simply a way of life, and valued solely based on it's functionality and durability over an open flame, one artist's unsigned pot blending in with all of the other pots from her village that are made exactly the same way and have been for 60 generations back. 

I am moved by ancient forms that once held such a rudimentary and crucial role - keeping water cold, fermenting foods, cooking over an open flame, serving tea to honor your guests-  that now, in this world of plastic and industry and a general lack of ceremony in daily life, have lost their place in our society. Through my work, I intend to pay homage to the role that clay has played by creating forms inspired by traditional vessels that hold some semblance of the ritual and magic within their walls that their predecessors held from being handled and used over generations.

Offerings to the kiln gods, atop Chiakigama in the mountainside outside Onishi, Japan.

Offerings to the kiln gods, atop Chiakigama in the mountainside outside Onishi, Japan.