I love creating with clay, making “something” from “nothing.” I find myself drawn to clay largely because of its sensuous pliability—my favorite tools are my hands, and I experience and learn so much through the sense of touch.
In recent years I have focused on figurative ceramic sculpture, which I find particularly satisfying. I enjoy “meeting” new characters as they emerge out of the clay, to share their stories with me. I begin by visualizing, then wait for the shape to materialize through my hands. I know my work is going well when I lose track of time—I know a work is completed when it matches the image in my head, and when I can think of nothing else to add.
This book showcases 21 sculptural pieces created between 2009 and 2011. Some are “somewhat autobiographical,” while others delve into personas and scenarios I have never encountered. Some are expressions of happiness, some are contemplative, some are poignant—seen as a body of work, I guess one could say that these “individuals” I’ve had a hand in shaping act on my behalf to offer social commentary in exploring the vagaries of nature and the human condition.
Winnipeg Beach, Manitoba
I create my sculptures in a small two-roomed studio in Winnipeg Beach, a convenient 20 paces from the front door of my home.
Most of the time I construct the sculptures using either coil or slab-building techniques, though occasionally I will also carve heads or elements from a block of clay. I have experimented with a wide variety of clay bodies in my sculptural work, including Death Valley (medium coarse in texture), Danish White (high-fire stoneware), M-325 Plainsman (lightly grogged body), Tucker’s 6-50 (cone 6 porcelain), Low White P’Clay (talc body), and Max’s Paper Clay (includes medium-mesh grog).
I fire my ceramic sculptures in an electric kiln (mostly at cone 04), and occasionally I participate in group wood-firings with friends (ware is fired up to cone 12). Most sculptural pieces go through an initial bisque firing, and after glazing and/or staining, a second (or more) glaze firings. To achieve
the desired results, I sometimes use cold finishes and varnishes.
I enjoy collecting odds and ends (found objects, bits and pieces of products destined for the landfill, etc.) which I incorporate into assembled constructions… what others see as “junk” can actually be a stimulating source of inspiration.