Artist's Statement ::
On my daily walk to work, I often encounter a washer, screw, nail, or an unexpected fragment of disused hardware.
Slab XX began as wet stoneware scrap clay combined with sawdust, perlite, and nylon fiber. This mixture was pressed 2-3 inches thick onto a bed of salt crystals, copper shavings, rust scale, nails and screws, glass fragments, pyrometric cones, and small pottery shards.
The ceramic and non-clay materials were asymmetrically arranged on a wooden board in an aleatory pattern, the front of the piece remaining hidden during drying. The completed wet piece was “aged” under stacked brick for 3 weeks to prevent warping, then was turned over to reveal its mixed-media patterning. After being dried and thinly dusted with gerstley borate, the tile was fired in reduction to cone 01.
Wire-Wrapped Raku Vessel
These pieces derive their origin from historically-referenced, volume-derived wheelthrown form. The shape bulges outward, due to the interface between centrifugal and centripetal forces of the spinning potter’s wheel. Surface treatment begins with cross-wrapped copper wire, an idea developed from various sources: tying down cross-country truckloads under a tarp; Japanese packaging illustrated in the book How to Wrap Five Eggs; my wife’s all-consuming involvement in crochet. The interplay between melting copper and molten glaze, influenced by heat variation and post-firing reduction in sawdust, give the piece its unpredictable skin.
Red Corner Arch
From 1984 to 1991 I made visits to brickmakers in Egypt, Morocco, Spain, Portugal, and Argentina in order to photograph their work. Ancient brickmaking and extant traditional methods share strong connections. Daily, using Nile mud and straw with simple wooden molds, rural Egyptians hand-form bricks to be low-fired for construction. “Brick Sphere” was conceived in homage to their life work.
A plaster mold taken from a slip-covered commercial insulating firebrick was used to generate brick sections of a sawdust, perlite, feldspar, and clay mixture. These modular parts were attached to a small sphere of the same material, using a wet mix of the same clay body. The glaze is cadmium-based and low-fired in an electric kiln.
Artist statement [general]
A work of art can serve as societal critique, express personal dream imagery, make reference to archaeological artifacts, explore abstract spatial and temporal concepts, or commemorate and focus ritual.
My work as an artist began with exploration of the inherent properties and historical uses of ceramic raw materials transformed through fire. Discovering claywork in the early 1970’s was a revelation: the quintessential physicality of this common earthy material, with its remarkable ability to capture and retain any fleeting physical impact or impression, immediately and permanently captured my interest.
Clay is a universal medium, and potters and their vessels have formed an essential part of material culture. My aesthetic has been formed and informed by my travels to document traditional artisans throughout the Mediterranean and around the Caribbean. From the backyard brickmakers in Aswan and semi-tropical northern Argentina, to isolated wheelthrowers in central Turkey and southern Spain, to a potter making drain pipes on the wheel in northern Syria--these creators make objects to be sold and used, and sometimes to be taken for granted in their function.
Selected Exhibitions: ::