Teapot I and II
My work in clay is concerned with incorporating elements from metal objects such as mufflers, oilcans, silos and funnels. I find these objects amazingly simple in form and construction, as well as incredibly beautiful. The essential characteristics of these objects are used as my basis for construction. The cylinders and cones, as well as seams and rivets become incorporated into the making of teapots, bottles, pitchers and ewers. This curiosity originally developed from my surroundings, growing up in a rural landscape. After living in the southwest and the Arizona desert for several years, I was struck by the ability to see my indigenous landscape with a new vision. Grain silos, livestock feed tanks, oil pumps and storage tanks that I had been used to seeing and living around became new and interesting. I noticed the vertical relationship of these structures to the horizontal treeless landscape of the Midwest. Another factor that interested me as a ceramic artist was the intricate surfaces of the rusting, corroding, and paint chipped metal structures. These textures became the influence for the textured and stained surfaces in my work. As I began to incorporate a metallic language into my work, I found it easier to study smaller industrial objects such as mufflers, oilcans, oil funnels, and small pipe constructions. I could bring them into my studio to handle, study and inspire my work. They retained much of the visual language of the larger structures, but also related to my focus on referencing smaller scale functional objects.-My interest in these objects grew and I decided to reference the process that was used to make them. By using thin slabs of porcelain, I am working in a similar fashion as was used when creating oilcans and funnels from sheets of metal. By texturing the slabs, applying a metallic oxide wash, and using stamps to create rivets where joints come together I reference the aged, dented and rusted surfaces that are so appealing. Although these reference objects have been a continual influence and resource for my work, I take care to impart my own personality and visual vocabulary to push the work beyond realistic depiction. I continue in the ceramic tradition of vessel making, but I am also concerned with bridging the sculptural and functional sides of ceramics in my artwork.