The conclusion of our kiln building workshop has left me with ample studio time. I've been able to put in at least seven hours a day which has greatly helped me in developing a new body of work, processing local clays and slips for experimentation, and doing some undisturbed thinking. The concept of one's relation to place and the creation of a body of work which reflects that has been weaving its way throughout my my mind. I found it necessary to really figure out more about this place: the geology, history, landscape. Extended walks down Wheelers Spring Road have helped in developing an awareness of my surroundings and the qualities/emotions they convey. Of particular interest has been the effect of nature on man made objects over time. One may find this in the barns, fences, and buildings in historic districts anywhere. However, there is something about the abandoned barns and sheds out here that is truly captivating.
I've been trying to apply this awareness of nature's ability to transcend man made structures and objects over time to my own work. Pottery, being a collaboration between the maker and material, appears to be quite an appropriate way of studying such interactions. I'm looking forward to further studying the effects of natural phenomenon on my work with our new anagama which we will be firing for the first time on the 15th. I'm hoping that I'll be able to develop a diverse body of work which will capture the effects of the fire in both the realms of functional pottery and sculptural vessels.
coil built jar - local red clay, dry white clay applied to exterior
coil built cylinder - local red clay, dry white clay on exterior
coil built vessel, local red clay
My time the past few days has been spent crushing and screening the local white clay from the river bed to create a white slip for the rich red clay. I've been really drawn to the gestural way the wild grasses fall when they wither in the heat and have applied this idea to a new area of work.
The same grasses and wheat plants seem to make wonderful brushes. I'm hoping to experiment more with these and other handmade tools made from the materials of my surroundings.