I explore pottery and sculpture as contrasting elements of balance. When making sculpture, my approach is spontaneous and deeply personal. When making pottery, the process is constrained by utility and made with the user in mind. Both approaches inform one another. Sculpting invokes new ideas of how to redefine a pot, and potting provides an ideal testing ground for sculpture. All my work is made with a playful yet analytical approach to the craft. The resulting forms represent the things I care about most: living creatures and the geologic environments they inhabit.
I make each sculpture as an individual and often stack or cluster them to achieve a more compelling composition with new meaning. Most of the sculptural forms become part of an evolutionary installation I call the Multispecies Muddle, inspired by the writings of Donna Haraway. For three years running, I have shown the same installation. It is an aesthetic ecosystem and all pieces are part flora and part fauna. Every time it’s shown it changes. Pieces disappear from the group when sold, new works are created and introduced, and others have been there the whole time. Some pieces are not strong enough to show alone, but within the collective, they help strengthen the overall aesthetic. The meaning of this evolving cluster is tied to human communities as well as ecosystems.
When making pottery it is all about the process. I view it as a form of performance art with many labor-intensive steps: from mixing clay to cleaning the studio at the end of the day, every step can be creative, so long and the doer puts mindful intention into it. As we transform clay to ceramics, meditative moments can arise out of repetition. Monotonous, time-consuming steps are like counting Buddhist prayer beads. I see the pot as an artful byproduct of this act.
As my pots are used, they are oddly correct. They are off-centered multiple times which in turn recenters their weight. The user is often surprised by how well the strange form functions as a utilitarian object. My goal is to delight and surprise, and to keep the conversation between pot and user going as more details are discovered over the years, whether those details are flaws or well-intentioned additions. Pottery is a special way to take the art experience out of the gallery and into real life.