work is largely informed by the process by which I make
it. I try to rely on the skill I have in the moment of
making and accept what my state of mind brings to it. My
cardinal rule is not to overwork a pot, but rather to throw
it or assemble it with freshness and candor. If a tear
develops, I patch it with a band-aid of clay; if a pot
is accidentally dented, it becomes another thing that defines
its character. There is great pleasure in understanding
a pot’s history of making.
At Alfred as an undergrad, I developed a process called “dry
throwing” in which I trim to center using a pin tool, scoop out
the inside using a loop tool and thin out the walls by pushing them
out with a rib. I use no water because I like the surface of moist
clay, rather than wet. This method allows me to preserve the inherent
textures in clay that I love- the stretching, cracking, and sagging.
Fingerprints have a different kind of crispness and I can coax out
a delicate edge of a line on a massive wall. Using this method, I can
also work more spontaneously and intuitively because I don’t
have to wait for the clay to dry out quite so long. When I glaze, I
try to keep up the same level of spontaneity and intuition so I can
keep things real. I’ve found that if I set up 100 cups to glaze
at once, my exhaustion and desperation at coming up with new ideas
and variations pushes me to take risks and grow.
Click to see Dry Throwing video