I grew up in Kansas but have lived most of my adult life in Texas often spending long periods of time visiting my family in Louisiana and Mississippi.
I am amazed to find I have been making clay art for over forty years. The first half of that time I fired to low temperatures in an electric kiln. For the last twenty years I have been firing my works in a wood kiln in the Texas hill country transporting my pottery ninety miles from my home in Austin.
Using slab and coil construction, I hand build with stoneware and porcelain clay bodies. I have always been influenced by the natural world and these last few years animal and bird imagery has been a focus. Sometimes in my studio I look up from my work table and see many eyes looking at me from the shelves; ceramic owls, birds, rabbits, mice, even the occasional Chupacabra. They make me laugh and laughter is good medicine.
I use very little glaze, mostly to line interiors and let the flames and ash of burning wood give me serendipitous patterns and colors on the exterior of the piece. I like the firing results being random although there are disappointments, of course. I fire with a group of about 10 people and we take turns working to share the 20 hour firing and the wood preparation that goes into that beforehand.
Growing older, I now think of a load of pottery in a flame filled kiln as a metaphor for life. The process often seems uncontrollable, transformational, full of beauty, effort, surprises good and bad and, finally, not always the results I had hoped for but must live with.