Go With the Flow / October 10 – 15, 2021
I work with clay because clay is tactile, inviting and has the ability to take any form. Within the genre of the ceramic arts, I specialize in wood firing. This is a technique that utilizes flame and ash to paint across the surface of clay, which creates organic pattern and color. I am always trying to find the balance between material control and serendipitous effects across the surface of my forms. This way finishing the work always includes many unknown elements and I never know fully how they will look until they come out of the kiln. This mystery is an important element to my making and overall aesthetic.
My work is inspired by the relationship between the natural world and the human psyche. I am experimenting with shapes that I hope inspire a broad range of feelings difficult to define such as comfort, safety, stability, instability, evolution, violence and permanence. I am heavily influenced by the natural world and some areas of my interests include geology, biology and psychology. The natural world is familiar and mysterious, and it is my intention to make work that continues to revel itself to the viewer through layers of surface texture and color.
Learning to wood fire takes years to understand because it is learned through physical labor and close observation of ceramic material in all stages of making. After graduating with my BFA from Albion College, I spent six years focused on developing skills and knowledge needed to fire wood kilns of all kinds, but with an emphasis of long, 5-10 day, anagama firings.
After years of dedication to wood firing, I knew that I needed to return to school to broaden my view of visual art and so that I could learn how to be an art educator. At Indiana University I met all kinds of artists and had the opportunity to take a wide variety of classes and teach 3D Design and Ceramics 1. These experiences took me out of my comfort zone, and I experimented in ways that are outside the norm of a craft-based artist, such as learning 3D modeling on Rhino. Craft knowledge grounds my personal practice and contemporary sculpture expands my thought and I work to weave them together.
Currently, Wyatt Severs and I are building a professional wood shop and wood fire ceramics complex in west Kentucky. I also teach ceramics at Paducah School of Art and Design and beginning in fall 2021, I will be teaching sculpture at Murray State University.