Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Anagama firing - Summer 2011


*A note on bricks*

I began investigating the form of the brick after spending lots of time looking at old brick structures in Lynchburg, VA and in rural Appomattox. I'm amazed by the primal nature of both the brick and vessel as a symbol for clay. Both utilitarian clay vessels and ceramic architectural elements played such a large role in the evolution of the human race in their ability to improve the quality of life. Vessels allowed for water and seeds to be stored which aided the production of crops. Similarly, ceramic architecture provided protection from the elements and animals. Both evolved along with the human race into very significant objects.
Today, the ceramic vessel has reached such a popularity as an art object that it may be taken out of the utilitarian context (literally out of the kitchen) and placed on a pedestal in a gallery where it only references function. Such vessels are successful in their existence as an artfully created object. However, the brick - occupying a similar significance to the human race, has failed to reach such aesthetic levels.

These bricks are created using a simple frame into which clay is pressed. I seek to maintain a similar approach to the clay when I am throwing on the wheel or handbuilding - always working with a sensitivity towards the clay's ability to dictate form and surface. In creating these bricks I am seeking to understand if such an object is capable of reaching such success when taken out of utilitarian context.




Brick
press molded local red stoneware
wood fired to cone 12
all natural ash glaze


Brick
press molded local red stoneware
wood fired to cone 12
all natural ash glaze


Brick
press molded local white stoneware
wood fired to cone 12
all natural ash glaze


Whiskey Cup
Local white stoneware
wood fired to cone 12
all natural ash glaze

Whiskey Cup
local white stoneware
wood fired to cone 12
all natural ash glaze


Whisky Cup
Local red stoneware
Wood fired to cone 12
All natural ash glaze

Whisky Cup
Local red stoneware
Wood fired to cone 12
All natural ash glaze


*I find this form, or rather the series of these small cups as a whole, to be some of the most successful pieces of the firing. These small cups were thrown off of one large mound with on a very slow spinning wheel - resulting in a natural irregularity in each piece. Literally, these small cups form the negative space between one's hands while working on the wheel. For this reason I find them to be the most intimate and hard to put down. Furthermore, I'm inspired by the way the process (working at a slow speed) results in objects which defy any sense of preconceived form. Rather, they exist almost as objects of the moment, related only by their being created at the same time, mound of clay, and from the same hands.


Whiskey Cup
Local red stoneware
Wood fired to cone 12
All natural ash glaze


Large Jar
Coil built local red stoneware
wood fired to cone 12
All natural ash glaze


Cylinder
Coil built local red stoneware
Wood fired to cone 12
All natural ash glaze


Tea bowl
Handbuilt local white stoneware
Wood fired to cone 12
All natural ash glaze


Small plate
local red stoneware, local white slip
wood fired to cone 12
all natural ash glaze


Teapot
Handbuilt stoneware
wood fired to cone 12
all natural ash glaze



Vessel
Coil built local red stoneware
wood fired to cone 12
all natural ash glaze

*My intention in creating this vessel was to investigate the essence of volume. In gently forming an inverse lip I sought to further contain the negative space within the form. I find something almost haunting in the darkness of this piece, especially in its reference to caves - almost as if the viewer needs a lantern to explore the volume.


Vase
local red stoneware
wood fired to cone 12
all natural ash glaze