Sunday, June 17, 2007

Megan's work 6/07


I strive to make work which communicates, challenges and fulfills. The inspiration for my ceramic work originates in geometrical forms that appear in the landscape – the march of high tension power lines across a field, or a piece of razor wire tracing itself against the sky. These images are a reminder of the impact of humans on this planet, yet they also intrigue and satisfy me with their straight lines and complex angles. In clay, I impose geometrical form and imagery on complex woodfired surfaces. I attempt to duplicate what I see around me, and explore the duality of my admiration and fear of the alterations that surround me and to which I am intrinsically connected.

As my exploration of the work has deepened, I have come to realize that it is also an examination of the boundaries within my relationship to other people and to myself. My pots stand as metaphors and as a reflection of my inner world. With their holes, doors and windows, they are both inviting and gated. Windows and fences are dominant images in my work because they divide space, serving as both boundary and opening.

Wood firing is an important part of my process. It removes my control over the final surface of the piece, while also allowing me to be more intimately involved in the firing process than is possible with an electric or gas kiln. It makes me both more and less part of the piece. By the end of the firing, it has passed through an experience which leaves it distinctly changed and marked; once it passes out of my hands, it will again take on its own life in someone else’s hands. It is this blurring of boundary between maker and user which fuels my interest in functional work.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Mel's Turn

Helllooooo ladies,

This is my very first time posting to a blog, and hopefully I'll do it right. I am under the impression that I don't have to erase Martina's stuff to put mine up, and I hope very much that it will work.

Before I start, I wanted to let you know that I just rewrote my artist statement today, and could use any help or advice. I had a short, friendly version, but want to work towards something to use for grad school applications. Any ideas? Also, I wanted to apologize for the poor photo quality. This is just me in the basement with my lame camera, often with one hand on the lamp and the other on the camera, the tripod between my legs. I hope they work well enough to serve the purpose and don't annoy you too much. And I hope you like some of the pots, even though its hard to see what they really look like. I've been focusing on simple forms lately, trying to work out the decoration, and am excited to expand on this. Again, any thoughts are more than welcome. Thanks guys, your words and feedback are very valuable to me right now!

Artist Statement

My current studio work is a response to my search for a connection to my new landscape and environment. In the past, I made pots from local clay and fired with wood and gas. Those pots were descriptive of the land from which they were made. A raw, rocky Maine coastline, a rutted, tangled California mountainside, and a high, bald North Carolina hill bore natural, earth-toned pots, with deep, yet simple surfaces. Presently, I live and work in an area that is relatively void of a feeling of place. The earth in my small, square garden is tinged red, and so I find myself moving back towards earthenware. Uniform bagged clay feels more natural in a town where the commercial has overcome the local, and the landscape is less dramatic and wild. I am drawn to more bright and vibrant colors that reflect the light green of spring leaves against wet, dark trunks along with simple, primary, tones. The imagery reflects my current thoughts on domestication and taming of life, animals, and land.

Each pot is largely informed by its process, a balance between motion and intuition. I have always been influenced and inspired by active time spent with rich earth, whether it be running though mountains or making in the studio. The momentum that builds through throwing simple forms in numbers leaves me feeling as though the clay and motion are endless. With faith in the innate intelligence of the motion of making, my mind and body are free to then change these wheel-thrown forms into more carefree pinched and altered pots, fresh and spontaneous. My vocabulary of form is inspired mostly by traditional British slipware, Bizen ceramics, and the mugs, plates, and bowls I choose from the cupboard every day. My forms aim to be direct and uplifting, both playful and practical. I believe that the most beautiful pots are born of intuition, immersion and risk.

As a painter, decoration and imagery are a central element to my work. I am interested in creating a sense of depth in the surface landscape of the pot, and in painting lighthearted, energetic animals that act as a tangible element to engage the user in that landscape. Animals are comical and accessible, and the humor they bring accents slightly asymmetrical shapes. These characters are sometimes drawn directly from contented or nostalgic times in my past, or might relate to my hopes and dreams for the future. I try to use minimal, gestural, purposeful, living lines to define space and to create a sense of movement in the animals as well as in the pots themselves. Making these pots is a deep, intuitive, and central part of my life, and I love to daydream about the chickens I paint dancing through the kitchens and gathering places of others.

Mel Pots 3

Mel Pots 2

Mel's Pots 1