The vesselness of "grandma's china" is refuted by its preciousness often making it useable only once or twice a year for a wedding or funeral or birth. Other pots are refuted by their sculptural design, visual decoration or by their conceptual nature. I use one or all of these techniques to join the ongoing discussion concerning the pot as vessel and sculpture and the overdetermined response to the issue in ceramic art.
My first ceramics class was taken in high school in upstate New York. It was primarily a wheel throwing class but I also began hand-building. After those days slab-building was my primary method of expression—pinch-forming was what I did while my clay slabs were becoming firm. I have studied education theory and policy, art education, and theology, but I never stopped pinching regardless of what path I was on in my life. Pinching has been my meditation. After a circuitous and fortuitous journey I teach ceramics, art education and art making as spiritual practice at St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota. My partner and I share a basement studio spending the evenings working and discussing art, sewing/quilting, ceramics/sculpture and how far away our three children live.
Ongoing Work (Pure Pinching)
I am engaged in a process I call “pure pinching,” that is, making the goal of my practice to be present to the largely intuitive process of growing a form, most often, out of one piece of clay—it becomes a mindful practice. My process is neither additive nor subtractive but expansive. In one sitting I develop the form, intuitively sculpt it, and the moment ends as a contemplative object due to the visual mystery of the process, an object that is vessel-like.
Ultimately, I am interested in the development of interiority on a continuum with exteriority. Equilibrium and balance appear where it seems none can be attained. My work primarily critiques traditions, broadly defined, where they impede the possibility of ongoing equanimity. I present equanimity as compositional balance.
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