Why large vessels?

Good large pots have an animate presence that delights and compels me. Making them is my quest to understand how they work: How scale, curve and volume combine to make forms that resonate with something inside us — and that enliven the spaces they occupy.

Inspirations

I draw inspiration from Mediterranean and Asian pottery traditions as well as ancient clay figurative sculpture. The silhouettes and materials of my pieces evoke millennia of utilitarian vessel-making, while the scale and voluptuous curves suggest organic and human form. I seek to unite a contemporary sensibility with the spirit and vigor of ancient pots.

Process

I build large pieces in many stages, joining damp sections in a modified version of the coil-and-throw method found in many ancient cultures. Although I work on a potter’s wheel, my approach is essentially sculptural: Beginning with a rough idea of scale and mood, the details of form and decoration arise through an improvisational dance that unfolds over a period of days as the piece finds its way to completion.

Many of my pieces are unglazed, but may be covered with a thin layer of slip to achieve different hues. After three to five days of building and a week of drying, I load the vessels into my large kiln, bring them to 2300ºF in a day-long firing, and then allow them to slowly cool over three days. Each time I open the kiln, I have the thrill of seeing how (and if!) they fared through extreme stresses of transformation by fire.