Process is more than
clay and kiln.
clay and kiln.
The practice of art is something ongoing. It’s what I do every day. There is a rhythm and routine and a lot of sweeping the floor and making the bed.
Maker. Thinker. Creator. Walker.
I am proud to be an artist/craftsman, a person with strong hands that knows hard work and the calm feeling of centering a soft ball of clay. What a life-to sketch a teapot form on paper and then be able to choose the right materials and process to make the parts on a wheel, assemble into a functional form, glaze, fire and transform that piece into something very permanent, very ordinary, very appreciated.
Have always enjoyed the notion that the pieces i make go out in the world, into people’s homes and are used daily, hand to mug to mouth to table. My home is filled with so many well-crafted, handmade things from friends all over the world in all mediums; some of the best are time-worn, a little frayed, used and loved.
I believe that one of the things that makes us human is our brain and the need to make art. Some anthropologists have put forward a small rock with red ochre lines applied as much as 76,000 years ago. People were making pottery, discovering patterns and decoration from observing the natural world as much as 6000 years ago. It’s interesting to be part of that continuum.
I have dreamed, drawn, discussed a lot more clay pieces than have actually been made. I will always be a student of art history, and continue to “craft” language skills with writing poetry, prose, papers, journals etc.
April 1 2021
BLOOD LINE ON THE WALL
Someone painted a line on the wall set deep in an alcove.
The line is purple/red, the pigment hematite, earth blood,
cemented onto the pale grey sandstone.
The line is horizon, the division between worlds:
where we come from and what we may become.
It is a thread, a creation story, connecting
handprints of yellow, red, green and white
to figures barely visible, above an below
Erosion and time are lifting the paint from the stone canvas,
like pages torn from a holy book. The story is almost forgotten.
If we can touch the power that still resides in this place,
in the blood line, within the softly abraded stone,
then it is possible to sense the pulse of
those who came before and left their mark,
hand to hand, heart to heart.
There is a quote from a famous Japanese potter, Shoji Hamada: “Ten years to learn, twenty years to forget -then you will make your own work”. I have passed that mark and occasionally experience those moments of quiet satisfaction, being in the flow of creation.
All the practice pays off and lets the transformation of materials, the alchemy of elemental processes take over. It is a gift to open a kiln and take out a simple bowl that is still “turning”, that invites you to hold and fill the round space it defines. Larger sculptures find their way to a garden, to another home, and form relationships with those spaces, those new owners.
CREATING FROM A SENSE OF PLACE
I enter the natural world with eyes open and all the other senses switched on. If you are lucky, an environment feeds you, and like being nourished, that feast of color, form, sound, smell, taste and touch is assimilated, processed and returned. The backyard view opens my heart. The sky above the mesa is dynamic and the small details of tree and stone inform a bowl; a waterfall teaches a pitcher how to pour, grasses in the wind translate into a design on an open field of clay.
It has always been very important to get out in the world, preferably on foot, at a slower pace, in order to take in what the world has to offer. This has required a certain level of fitness and health, a keen sense of where my own center is and a good cadre of friends who enjoy the journey as well.
Whether riding a mule to a “cueva” in the mountains of Baja California in a quest for rock art, sitting for an eternity in an alcove in a Utah canyon, trying to understand some incised patterns on the wall, or holding a clay figurine made 30,000 years ago in a little museum in the Czech Republic; all these experiences came as a result of getting out of the comfort zone, out of the studio and having a multi level perceptual encounter with place.