I explore both hand built and wheel thrown forms. Each of these methods of working has its advantages and disadvantages, and I believe that together they allow for stronger, more complex forms. My work is often utilitarian, but it also incorporates highly decorative surfaces, which are symbolic and illustrative. I utilize a variety of surface techniques to decorate my forms. I use a combination of underglazes, slip decoration, gold luster, and terra sigillata on a dark stoneware clay body. I use carving and more delicate incising to render images into the clay. This allows me to obtain a richness and clarity of line quality to convey my images. I like to juxtapose my dark clay body and fatalistic imagery with bright, colorful slips and underglazes. I further explore this juxtaposition between a utilitarian ceramic vessel that often holds something that gives sustenance such as food or drink and contrasting that with symbols of death and decay.
I am compelled to tell stories and engage the user in narratives. I do this by creating collages of imagery that represent natural objects and hold symbolism. This symbolism is inspired by a long history of still life painting. Still life, or in Italian “natura morta,” translates to “dead nature.” The traditions of memento mori and vanitas still life specifically intrigue me. The objects depicted communicate a moralistic message that alludes to life’s transitory nature and the passage of time, which eventually consumes all earthly things. I believe that life is exalted and better understood by exploring its opposite-- death. I am also influenced by something called “vulture culture,” which involves the processing and repurposing of animal parts from ethically scavenged sources that are found in their natural environments. This could be described as DIY taxidermy, incorporating wet preserved specimens, dry preserved specimens, insect pinning, and curing fur. Elaborate stories are told through the associations we make with what we perceive in nature. I delight in depicting these creatures and objects wrought with symbolism