Materials and Process

Earthen materials are chosen because of their connection to humanity’s long history of creating the human figure as part of a spiritual reality. Clay and wax have always been natural for me to work with, their plastic qualities lend themselves to creating sculptures of the human form.
From my first successful figurative sculpture in 1992, I have continued to push the limits of clay in the vertical, fighting against gravity and the stress of moving and shipping the work. The “rules” of clay seemed to me to be somewhat artificial, I have found new levels of actual limitations in the ceramic process. Clay, as well as other sculptural materials, has it’s own life, my job is to work with the material in creating a piece of art. I am not overly concerned with cracks or damage in the drying or firing process, I greet them as gifts to be received and worked with. Clay comes to exist by going through a long process of transformation including many extreme changes and those continue in my studio.

 

I construct my work from slabs or handfuls of clay, using recycled scrap clay from my studio. I am not overly interested in using a particular type of refined clay, it too easily becomes predictable in its color and consistency. I look for a certain feel in the reclaimed clay, just the right texture and moisture content that does not translate well into words, it is a tactile understanding.

 

Other materials that I use often are wood and metal, especially bronze. Wood, especially branches (plum, sycamore and mulberry have been dominate as my choices) are a natural element that fits well with the clay and bronze pieces. The branches started as arms on the figures and have become legs, wings, nests, support structures and ritual appendages.

 

The process of building is crucial for me, in clay, wood, wax or metal, adding and subtracting material is at the heart of the experience. I am a hands-on artist trusting in the process of transforming material as an essential part in the act of art making.