If all the beasts were gone, man would die from a great loneliness of spirit, for whatever happens to the beasts also happens to the man. All things are connected. - Chief Seattle
I have always been drawn to the outdoors, so it is not surprising that my creativity stems from the natural world of plants, animals, and landscapes. I have found that it is hard to come close to creating a body of work that represents the natural beauty of the earth; snow that clings to one side of a tree branch, striated rock formations, a horse’s spirit. But I try, because that is what moves my emotional and creative spirit.
Throughout my years as a potter, I have maintained a focus on wheel-thrown functional pottery. My recent incorporation of wild creatures through sculptural elements expresses the beauty yet vulnerability of nature. These pieces are called "creat-urns" - a melding of large, vase-like urns with fitted lids on which a wild animal - real or imaginary - perches.
This work incorporates pit firing, the earliest, most basic form of firing clay. After bisque firing in an electric kiln, the forms are wrapped in newspaper or foil along with ingredients such as salt, hay, copper wire, steel wire, copper sulfate, iron oxide, coffee grounds, tea bags, and banana peels, or, they are simply left unwrapped. The forms are then fired in a pit or barrel with sawdust, dried wood, twigs, and newspaper. Each form is unique due to the unpredictability of this atmospheric firing. The colors on the pots vary from brown, black, red, orange, and yellow.
I have been told that these forms look ancient and important, like they are part of a museum collection. For me, this is a great compliment because I want to evoke a sense of earthiness and antiquity to my ceramic forms; to represent life and life once lived.