I strive to find a balance within three areas of the clay forming process: thrown utilitarian wares, hand-built vessels and conceptual-based installations and sculptures. The commitment to produce three separate bodies of work engages my creativity on different levels of thought. By allowing my mind to change gears and work out separate problems, I promote and refresh my artistic sensibilities. Within all three of my working methods, subtle but constant development is evident.
I find exquisite beauty and intimacy in functional objects. For many years, thrown vessels were a primary means of artistic expression. Even now, throwing consistently generates new ideas and moments of curiosity. Although I am currently more focused on creating sculptural work, vessels have been (and probably always will be) my stepping stones. I am challenged by creating utilitarian wares that have controlled form combined with soft line. Sometimes my wheel work forms are altered using splitting, splicing, and faceting techniques. I usually use simple glaze methods to enhance my functional pieces; wood firing often provides understated yet nuanced coloration.
Usually, I hand-build my larger vessel forms. Exploring the vessel through hand-built methods has naturally led to a more sculptural and conceptual approach. Moving from the utilitarian use of the wheel has developed a freedom within my forming process. I still concentrate on creating objects that identify with function or storagethe idea of vessel, but hand-forming allows me to think about more about a forms surface and how it relates to its structure. Sometimes I stretch the clays surface from the inside and create textural cracks and fissures. Hand-building permits me to work reductively, faceting surface planes. Through the use of molds, I can also create rectangular forms that are not possible to make on the wheel.
By addressing conceptual ideas that individual vessel forms cannot fully convey, my installations and sculptures allow an even greater freedom within the clay medium. Vessel-oriented sensibilities are still evident because I investigate sculpture and installation space as a volume or vessel needing to be filled. My sculptures utilize the same building methods used to create my hand-built vessels. Because of their scale, these objects often need molds, platforms, and interior structures to support the clay during forming, firing, and/or installation.
Traveling greatly influences my artmaking. Through my visual and culinary experiences, travel provides artistic growth for all three areas of my working process. My most recent solo exhibition reflects an internalization of my experiences visiting Thailand, Vietnam and Japan. The color palette reflects the intense colors of the Thai Imperial Palace. The surfaces reference the varied surfaces of Japanese teahouses. The organic and geometric volumes allude to the landscape and architecture of rural Vietnam. Recent work-in-progress is directly influenced by the textures and patterns of Japanese textiles and tea gardens.
My interest in the worlds landscapeboth human and naturalis also reflected in how I look at clay as a medium. It is earth. It can be used in any statewet or dry, unfired or fired, unglazed or glazed. Clay can be contemporary (a time-based medium), or traditional (a craft material). It can be thrown, pinched, coiled, rolled, extruded, molded, and printed. It can be imprinted, impressed, painted, and glazed. It can be a primary, secondary, or intermediate medium. Its flexibility is its virtue, and I try to embrace it in every capacity.