I enjoy being a ceramic maker, not only because I have taken a liking to creating forms and surfaces, but because I like to have a conversation with my audience. I am a very social person, and I get a lot of my inspiration from listening to the needs and wants of others. As a full time educator, being a maker as well allows me time to slow down, be reflective about my work and art, and appreciate what is happening around me.
Since I was in college, I have had a reputation of making a lot of cups. Not only are cup forms exciting to make, they provide me a canvas to experiment on, and go very easily out into the world into the lives of the people who purchase them. Cups were the first forms that I made enough of to realize that I had this inherent need to find ways to make things better, and questioned how and why small changes were beneficial. I began to think about cups in terms of their structure and craftsmanship, and their function was no longer to simply be a vessel, but they needed to fit into one’s hand.
I often find myself tired of, or frustrated by many commercial wares that I come across in daily life. It bothers me that there is no feeling of personalization in these products from our culture of mass production. Whether it be an issue I see in the form or a blandness of color and surface, I feel inclined to put my own spin on these objects. I use this information as I strive to bridge the gap between art and utility, a satisfying challenge for me. As my pace of working has recently become more intentional, it has allowed me to work on more time intensive forms. I have transitioned my feelings for cups to larger forms like serving bowls, plates, and teapots. I try to incorporate new ideas and discoveries into older, tested forms, creating a method of working that is always evolving and progressing.
My current materials are porcelain and a variety of stoneware clays. Glazes, terra sigillatas, and flashing slips are employed for visual texture, color, and design, and frequently in combination with one another. My work is almost all wheel thrown, sometimes altered, and often has patterns etched into the surface or raised using thick slip, all techniques I use to create variety in my work. The experimental aspect of the applying and layering these surfaces intrigues me, helping greatly in the search for immense variety. My work is fired to cone 10, sometimes hotter for desired effects.
As a very curious person, my choice of using atmospheric firing processes such as soda and wood kilns allows me to continue growing in my never-ending search for new forms and variety in my body of work. The forms, textures, surfaces, firing, and arrangement of pieces in the kiln all need to work together, and this experimenting and troubleshooting is what I find most rewarding. I get great satisfaction from loading kilns with intention, imagining the flame path across and around the pieces, and the marks that will be left on the surfaces.