I strive to create forms that are full of life and communicate a sense of wholeness. The universal elements of earth, air, fire, water, and shapes from nature are sources of inspiration. I incorporate patterns found in nature in a rhythmic manner in the decoration process; a straight line or curve of a horizon, the positive and negative spaces created by a tree in winter, the intersection of water and the beach, or the repeating patterns found on a leaf or bird feather, the patterns of clouds in the sky or a collection of water worn stones from a stream.
The medium of clay records each and every touch. Whether it is the maker’s hand or from the river of flame, there is evidence of it all. My kiln is a collaborator. Indeed, the kiln is much like a living and breathing form during the firing. It is one of my partners.
Process is what all my work revolves about. All the work, from maintaining the kiln, wood preparation, clay and glaze preparation, making of the forms, loading and firing of the kiln, taken as a whole is what gives me creative nourishment. The end result is what we, as artists, are judged by, but without the process the end result has less meaning for me, the artist.
Using stoneware and porcelain clay bodies with additions of local clay, I create my work on a potters’ wheel and by using hand building techniques. I personally execute all of the creative aspects it takes to make my work what it is. Glazes made with local materials, primarily granite, wood ash and clay. The pieces are raw glazed which means I don’t use a pre-firing. All of my work is fired in a large wood fired kiln of my own design. The firings last for 2 days and approximately 2 or three cords of wood are burned. During the loading and firing of the kiln I have the help of 2 – 4 fellow potters who will have some of their work in the kiln.
My work is a result of 42 years of experience as a clay artist, part of which was 10 years in Denmark working as potter and 2 years in Swaziland, Africa establishing a working pottery studio in collaboration with Canadian potter Kirk Creed.
1981-83, Ceramic research and field work in Swaziland, Africa. Established Tishweshwe Pottery
1973, University of Wisconsin at River Falls, Kurt Wild
1971, University of Minnesota at Mankato, James Tanner