Whether making a cup or bowl for everyday use or a one-of-a-kind burnished vessel, I am guided by three concepts: simplicity of form, evocation of memory and sense of ritual. The methods, the forms, and the rituals of cultures creating before me inform my work.


In 1974, I began teaching myself the processes of burnishing and pit firing. With my burnished pots, my shapes and ways of working have been derived from Pueblo Native American traditions. I used these techniques first in sculptural pieces and only later began making burnished, pit fired vessels. What drew me to burnishing and pit firing was the sensuous, polished, bone-like surface that could be created by these methods. I had studied old Inuit sculpture, much of which was made of polished bone or soapstone. Here in clay, through burnishing and pit firing, was a way to create a similar patina. I was also drawn to Pueblo pottery processes because of lack of technology and equipment needed for creating these beautiful pieces. I feel how something is made comes through the final piece. 


Since about 1985 I have been making vessels reminiscent of Pueblo storage jars and now, more recently, round-bottomed Pueblo bowls. The forms of the old vessels are primal, strong and beautiful. I decided not to paint designs on the vessels as Pueblo Native Americans do, but rather, to explore the markings of the fire, the "cloud marks" that the Native Americans try to avoid, as these obliterate their painted designs. I was working "backwards".  But in this "backward" way I have learned how the fire can mark the pots or sculptural pieces in ways I could never achieve with glaze or how the fire can create a surface of soft, complete blackness. 


In my functional pieces, I strive to maintain the same simplicity and strength of form. I hope, as people experience my work, whether a cup, a bowl, or a burnished vessel, that something slows, then quiets and perhaps an echo of memory comes.

 

biography


statement


resume