I began to develop my current body of work while doing a residency at the Penland School of Craft a few years ago. Being there allowed me to explore both old and new ideas. I tried combining things that I hadn’t before and thought about what I valued as a maker. For several years, I had been solely making to fulfill student requests for demonstrations of techniques and processes. While teaching is quite rewarding, I found my work without a clear purpose. Upon further reflection, I decided that one goal of my work was to pass on the feeling of the clay, the touch, the experiential properties of working in the studio. Another passion of mine is marine life, so including textures and colors that refer to the coral reef is a natural fit for my work.
Conveying the tactile quality of working with clay while also referring to the pace of studio work is important to my practice. I attempt to describe the qualities of the clay at all stages of making so that anybody can feel a connection to the process when holding and using the pottery. One way I do this is to leave throwing rings on the insides of my pots, while taking care to compress the exterior with a metal rib. I also carefully craft the foot rim while throwing, or keep the piece wet while trimming, which enables me to move the clay farther, showing the plasticity and adding some playful individuality to each piece. When the clay is leather hard, I use a variety of tools to plan out where I’ll put surface decorations. I further the personal narrative of my work by using one of my daughter’s sewing tools to draw lines on the surface.