Clay is a material accepting of impression. It is a record of every process, from its geological formation in the earth to its eventual transformation in the fire. My work with ceramics begins with the clay. By using local materials dug from the river bottoms and mountainsides of western North Carolina, my work gains a connection to place and establishes the materials as a valuable source of influence. I dig my own clay from a tobacco field alongside Turkey Creek and everything I make contains an element of my response to that experience.
Every pot is infused with the qualities and character of my clay; whether it is the subtlety of its dark iron body breaking through a white slip or the drama of its diverse particle size exposed through a facet, the qualities of my clay effect what I make and my intention is bring out the inherit beauty of the materials in every pot.
However, my interest in using local materials is not limited to the influence of their physical properties and extends to the intangible qualities that these materials can bring to the work. The physical properties of my materials are not as unique as my experience of using them and it is the increased participation in the creative process that I have come to value most. Digging my own clay has increased my connection to the area where I live and furthered my relationship with the surrounding community, creating an authentic context for my work to exist in. Most importantly I find a great amount of excitement in digging my own clay and my hope is that the enthusiasm I have for my materials is transferred to the finished product. I want each pot to carry with it the feeling I get each time I visit the Turkey Creek tobacco field.
The experience of working with local materials has contributed greatly to my growth as both an artist and a person.