Gee, 40 years used to be a lifetime to me. Now, I’ve been making pots for 48 years. That sounds impossible. It’s been a wonderful ride!
As a child I loved finding Indian arrowheads and pottery bits in the plowed fields around home. Earthenware shards with rolled rope designs incised on them. They were magic to me.
Fast forward to the late 60’s. That’s when I found myself studying ceramics in response to that urge to “get back to the earth”. Little did I know!!!
It was love at first sight. I threw my first pot and haven’t stopped. Our ancestors formed clay into functional utensils long before they used metals. I had found a genre, largely overlooked by the art world, that documented beauty in function. Civilizations made their everyday utensils of clay and they made them beautiful. It happened, universally and naturally. There is so much information, so many books, a treasure house of information, and hours of browsing pleasure. I can still take a book off the shelf and get lost in it. I love Mimbres Indian pots from the southwest, Nigerian tribal pots, folk pots, Chinese pots, Vietnamese pots, Lucie Rie pots….on and on. The unique way that pottery spans history is unparalleled. For a long time, my work unapologetically quoted from the past. One of my teachers used to say…go out and find the thing you love, embrace it, and after a while you’ll let it go.
By 2014 my work began to change. I found that I could create gesture in the throwing of the piece. The work from the 2015 show with George Billis is full of movement.
Recently, looking at my new work, I realized that I had, inadvertently, morphed into sculpture. The pieces are still vessels. I still use the potter’s wheel. But they are not intended to be functional. Instead, they are metaphors that are abstractly figurative. From a centered beginning we, as humans, journey through life. Sometimes we dance, sometimes we hurt; we are bandaged, and sometimes we have to be put back together. In fact, the vessel is a great metaphor.
We are “Mortal beings.” To me these pieces express that through all of this, we are still beautiful…we are imperfectly perfect.
I am having an exhibition at the George Billis Gallery 525 W 26th St., New York City this month. Stop by!