An eight-year stay in Japan started my art career in clay. While working as an English teacher to Japanese middle and high school students, I began pursuing an interest in pottery. Originally trained as a writer, I began incorporating my poems into my pottery and mosaic work. I created a poetry performance using ten pots as the vehicles to move between spoken words, and my stay in the historical city of Kyoto allowed me to take off with shard-work. Using the broken dishes collected from restaurants in my neighborhood, as well as found shards and salvaged glass, I created a 10-foot wall mural and a commission for architectural detailing on a new home using the homeowner’s own pottery.
One of the Japanese ideas that interests me most is the universe exists in a moment. I studied haiku poetry, and living in the culture showed me just how integrated that and other ideas are into daily life. My final series of work in Japan, a solo exhibition in Kyoto entitled “Moment to Moment,” featured this idea as the central theme.
I returned to the US in the summer of 2002, took a several-year hiatus from education, and began working for myself. For several years, I felt rootless and untethered, and that affected how I make both my pots and my mosaic work. With my more functional pottery, I’m looking to create a sense of domestic stability, of something that can be used to bring comfort. But some of my more sculptural pots, along with my mosaics, seem to reflect my uncertainties and my desire for the exotic.
I fire my pots and tiles in an electric kiln to 2230 degrees Fahrenheit, and use both commercial and original glazes. Rough deformations in texture paired with smooth, appealing colors interest me because of the dichotomies I see in my life, and my work is moving more into that direction artistically. I oscillate between periods of prolific pot-making and periods of more methodical work on mosaics and tile collages. In all my work, I am influenced by the simple design of Japanese ceramics, the muted earthy colors found in their pottery glazes and hand-woven textiles, and the natural world I have become so close to in my home in the woods of Dickinson.