O L E N
2016
 
Freely applied slips and glazes run and collect in pools. Sometimes, passages on fired surfaces suggest mountains, craters, rivers, vistas, waterfalls, smoke — these can't be planned. They come as surprises. 

Layers of materials fuse and change to glass in the kiln, and more and more I am searching for ways to deepen this sense of surrendering to the alchemy of nature, of succumbing to the mystery of the unknown.

The longer I work with clay, the more it seems to me that true work rests in simply getting out of the way — in giving space and opportunity for materials to speak, on their own, of their own accord. Supporting them, and tending to them, but ultimately working in their service and not the other way around.

For now, "getting out of the way" appears as a kind of unlearning of my techniques — putting everything I think I’ve learned to the side, letting go, watching what happens in front of me. Letting go of expectation.

When watching a piece emerge in this way, I set out in hope of finding something that I do not recognize.





2010-2014

I’m interested in quietness of form. Weighted or taut, languid or drawn, I enjoy how the slightest undulation of a rim or lip can suggest a mood in something as plain as a cup or bowl or plate: a subtle wavering, in silhouette, might give breath and vulnerability and strength all at once.

I wheel-throw with porcelain for its slowness and for its pleasure, and throw the porcelain thinly, waiting for the gentle personality of a pot to show itself. I’m drawn to a particular plainness: one that offers mystery because it seems there’s something else contained there in that empty space, something not entirely understood by words.

And so with glazes, too: milky, or waxy, or stony—or perhaps like a shell, or bone, or water, or skin—sometimes with the boldness that brilliance or darkness brings, if a form needs bright rose or emerald or the blackest black to assert its particular voice. But often the glaze is only a suggestion of a color, barely there, revealing, hopefully, something else in use and touch, maybe even tenderness.



                                                                   
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