Hand carved, rich texture... with an old world sensibility
I live on a farm in beautiful upstate New York. I follow the rhythms of the seasons as I care for my menagerie of little farm animal pets - twelve assorted rare-breed heritage chickens and four miniature goats and as I tend a garden of heirloom fruit and vegetable varieties. Making pottery is an important part of the routine of my days.
I began using clay as a medium of artistic expression while living for several years in the historic Burgundy region of France. There I was surrounded by, and became obsessed with, medieval history: the music and literature (especially the “lore of the Feminine in Nature”), the architecture, the artifacts and symbols. When I visited and explored the Cluny museum in Paris, I was struck by the beauty, the symbolic imagery and richly textured surfaces of “La Dame à la Licorne” tapestries that are housed there. Studying and thinking about those ancient tapestries transformed how I began to decorate the surfaces of my ceramic pieces. I experimented by meticulously carving lines through colored slip to reveal the contrasting color of the clay beneath. The result is deeply textural and for me is reminiscent of embroidery, dressing each piece in an ornate manner that juxtaposes traditional decorative arts with contemporary shape and gesture. Much of the imagery that I carve is a variation of “Millesfleurs”, or “thousands of flowers” from some of the designs on the Lady and the Unicorn Tapestries – stylized flowers, vines, leaves and animals.
I primarily use three different clays for my ceramic forms: porcelain, a light brown stoneware and a beautiful ivory stoneware. The design process is an ongoing one which begins with drawings in a sketchbook and then I must make decisions about how best to bring those 2-dimensional sketchs into 3-dimensional clay forms. Sometimes I create paper patterns which I use to cut pieces from slabs of clay and assemble almost in the manner of carpentry or sewing, or I might attach coils or pinched clay together improvisationally in the manner of sculpture, or I might decide that alteration of a round form thrown on the potter's wheel is what is needed. Often it's a combination of all those processes that bring a pot into being. I tend to work in small series but the results are not identical forms. As I work closely with each piece, I discover unique differences between them. It's almost as if each one has it's own blueprint for being that I intuitively follow.
My work evolves continuously, but the one constant is my interest in evoking a deeper response to an object in an environment – as something to be studied for its aesthetic form, its texture, its sometimes surprising color and its slowly revealed imagery. A process that ultimately provides the deep satisfaction that comes from interacting with carefully crafted hand made objects.