Quite early on in my clay career I had a fascination with building forms and how they can be interpreted with pots. Two books I found a connection with are Bernard Rudofsky’s “Architecture Without Architects” and William G. Gabler’s “Death of the Dream”, Farm Houses of the Heartland. Many examples in these books speak to simple utilitarian purposes that are constructed with natural materials found in the areas where the buildings were built. Traditional potters achieve similar ends in a similar way.
I recently heard a remark about old objects having a soul, in part, based on the human connection to them. I see the houses in the Gabler book and the simple granaries and abodes in the Rudofsky book in a similar light. Most of the examples in the books are no longer inhabited but I feel a sense of the human contact when I observe them.
I am trying to capture in my work that soul, if you will, and the history I sense from the buildings in these books and from buildings and objects I have seen traveling to other parts of the world.
I continue to make usable pots while also trying to develop work that speaks more literally to the influences I have spoken of above. Covered pots have usually had a roof on them for me.
The figurative pieces grew out of the house forms by simply evolving directly with clay in the studio without any drawings. I still see them as coming from the building forms and hope their pose conveys something similar to the stance and gaze I feel from an honest building or an honest pot.