Indigo Fertility Basin, 2020
Hollow Core Construction: A Unique Figurative Sculptural Approach / July 18 – 23, 2021
Many years ago someone asked me wether I thought it was more important to be a teacher who makes art or an artist who teaches. To this day, I have been grappling with that very profound question; probably because it hits so close to home regarding my life and career. Both are so deeply ingrained into my being that I find it very difficult to separate the two. Coming from a family of teachers I grew up believing that sharing knowledge with others made it possible to garner more knowledge. So my teaching habits, like my art career began at a very early age.
Being mostly self taught, early on I had to reply on very unorthodox learning and working styles, which provided a peculiar understanding of materials, processes, techniques and concepts. Interestingly enough, I later found that some of those more successful ways of doing things should not have worked at all according to prevalent conventional beliefs. In many cases I was breaking rules that I was totally unaware of, and achieving positive results. So instead of rejecting those somewhat radical approaches of problem solving I began to embrace them. This would forever mold my thinking as an artist/teacher. My career at U.K. marked a turning point in that I had to learn the traditional approaches to ceramics so that I could teach them. The confidence that I developed as an autodidact enabled me to quickly accomplish this vast set of challenges. Today, I create functional pottery along with my other research interests because I believe that making is the best way to teach. My work is unapologetically eclectic. It reflects my journey and it informs my teaching in a very encyclopedic way.
The Fertility Vessels
This body of work continues to move in and out of my life. Since 1990 I have created well over one hundred of these sculptural vessels. They have informed my teaching as well as the other areas of research. They mark a point of departure from using clay as a sculptural process material. With these pieces clay became the primary product material and presented a whole different set of technical problems in which to solve. From a conceptual standpoint the allude to the physical as well as the metaphysical aspects of the condition of fecundity.
As a practicing artist, Bobby Scroggins has served as professor of ceramics and sculpture at the University of Kentucky since 1990. He has also been chairman of Visual Arts for The Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts. His works have been in major exhibitions and collections throughout the United States and abroad. He has received several awards and commissions, and has held visiting residencies in Europe and China.