|“Centering is a quieting of motion without loss of vitality. It is a vibrant containment. Dynamic centering is never accomplished through sheer will and force. If we are off-center, we virtually feel lopsided and eccentric; we cannot work unless the clay, finding its center, centers us." |
~ Kenneth Beittel
There are no rules, only concepts"
~ Peter Voulkos
Vessel-making as an art form has intrigued me for thirty years. My response to the simplicity of clay is sensual and immediate because it has such a powerful tactile drawing force which can be mystical and spiritual.
Five years studying at OCAD Ontario College of Art & Design gave me an entrance into the wider ceramic world. Then my sojourn in Japan 2003 as artist-in-residence confirmed my oriental aesthetics, especially my love for Shigaraki jars, Shino and Celadon ware.
My intellectual response to the complexities of ceramic art is slower, thoughtful, intermittently resolved. I feel the Raku process extremely exciting and dangerous, fraught with enticing possibilities for immediate failure. Working with vessels while the molten glaze is red-hot 1850 degrees F can be entirely seducing. Similarly, the live flame in the High-fire reduction firing process also gives that element of working with the full force of fire on clay.
Currently the ultimate for me, is Firing with Wood for about 20 hours with a team of potters. Every five minutes, long sticks of wood must be fed into the fire, the build-up of ash in the fire-box must be carefully manipulated as the flow of the heat force carries the ash throughout the kiln chamber sprinkling it where it will. The pots can’t help but absorb all this passion and kindred unity as we work in shifts together, sharing and collaging our individual clay experiences to this point. The sum is greater than the parts.