I love feeling the clay slide between my fingers when I am throwing a pot on the wheel. It is not just about using your hands: when you make a ceramic object, you are thinking about each step. One mistake and you may have to start over again. It’s almost like a computer game: completing one stage, to move on to the next, then the next, but too many mistakes piled together means you must start over. It’s neither quick nor immediate; it is an additive process. Working with clay forces you to stop and think. It forces you to become attached to the object and think about what choices you are making.
I see clay in terms of food qualities. If I feel smooth, plasticy porcelain with my fingers, I feel like I am squishing butter. The smooth texture combined with the pure ivory color gives me an impulse: I want to eat the clay. It’s not about the taste; it’s about having the ability to if I wanted. I can take a chunk of smooth, white, buttery porcelain and dig my fingers into its surface, destroying its perfection. Red, coarse clay also has food qualities. It is rough and sandpapery. I imagine the clay crunching, even when it is wet. Clay is like a blank canvas, if you could then take the blank canvas and carve it into chunks, then stick it together again.
Recently I have found a connection with design. I will walk past a furniture store and find myself stuck up against the window, tracing the outline of a funky chair with my finger. I love visiting museum stores and browsing through the button purses, the paper chandeliers, the oddly shaped bookshelf. I have begun to think of my work in bright, contrasting colors and have allowed the shape to do as it wishes, while I focus on the pattern of the surface. In the design world, they take functionality to the limits. That is what I enjoy doing with ceramics: throwing away all preconceived notions of what a functional object is. My resulting works are sometimes functional, sometimes non-functional that use design themes, such as contrasting colors and unexpected patterns.
I believe ceramics should be about more than aesthetics. It should be a visual discovery of meaning. I love offering fresh playfulness with the roles of ceramic materials.