My work in porcelain and stoneware stems from my love of the sacred architecture of the Islamic world. So much of what I find fascinating about form and surface in pottery is embodied in this great tradition, from the stacking, subversion, and juxtaposition of geometric forms, to the obsessive articulation of surface with color and texture. My mathematical side delights in the complex repetitions and permutations of form, pattern, structure, and volume. I am constantly surprised to find so many buildings and surfaces illustrating such contemporary ideas as pixelation, fractal self-similarity, and chaos. So much of what I find begs to be taken apart, turned inside-out, flipped over, and re-assembled.
My stubborn insistence on making functional pots stems in part from my belief in the value of domesticity, a love of cooking and serving good food and drink, and the power that beautiful functional objects have to add aesthetic enrichment to daily life. In addition, pots have a deep and ancient connection to human life, a connection that still resonates with us today. As a potter, I am a part of that tradition, and I feel a responsibility to share it with others. Because of our historical association with pottery, people understand pots on a rather intuitive level, different from their understanding of many other art forms, and bringing pottery into their homes connects them to this long tradition.
The surfaces achieved at high temperatures in the wood burning kiln speak to me on many levels. Most important is an ancient, timeless characteristic the firing gives to the work. This technique has been appreciated and utilized by ceramic artists since 1000AD and is still a vital part of the contemporary idiom. Also important is the way wood kilns record the process of the firing. The fine ash drifting through the ware chamber collects on the pottery early in the firing and in the blast furnace-like conditions of the final hours to form natural glazes and surfaces that are unique to each firing. They are dependent on stoking patterns, wood type, how the kiln is loaded, clay compositions, and even weather conditions. Each firing leaves a unique narrative trace on the ware. I attempt a certain level of control and predictability in the process, but in the end, I give my work up to the kiln. What it gives back to me is often more profound than anything I could have realized on my own.