Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Anagama fired work, Oct 2012

four poems for the full moon

The gentle warmth 
enlivens the hands

With each breath,
the gentle kiss of steam
upon my face

In this night
without the moon,
all color is blown away
with the passing clouds

yet I remain
slowly sipping tea
from a hollowed stone


Catch the gentle breeze
of the empty night

Open your hand,

what is it you see
slipping through 
your fingers?


Seeking the honest light
of true nature

Mistakenly, I've followed
for countless setting suns

On this night
shining through my window

The moon's reflection
in my cup

all along


I move my seat 
to keep the moon
in view

Yet again, 
upon opening my eyes,
its light has blown away
by the passing clouds

Saturday, November 24, 2012


I've created an additional blog where I will post updates/thoughts regarding the kiln. You can follow by clicking the link here.


Time and Place: Constructing an Experimental Anagama

     In May, 2011 I moved from Eastern Iowa to Central Virginia to begin what has now evolved into an ongoing investigation of the relationship between artist, time, and place. I have been highly inspired by objects conveying an imperfect form of beauty that convey the presence of simplicity, transformation and erosion. This interest has fueled a passion for wood fired ceramics, particularly in the genre of firing unglazed wares for natural ash effects. I find that this method speaks of the larger, universal laws of change within nature. In the end, I wish to view my work more as a form of documenting these changes than as objects carrying traditional functions. 
     Like so many others before me, I find profound expressions in the complex surfaces of medieval Japanese yakishime (works fired to high temperatures without applied glaze.) While I actively seek these surfaces in my own work, it is from the belief that the qualities impinged on clay by fire and ash are universal. Much like the Japanese aesthetics of wabi (rustic simplicity) and sabi (beauty found in time and patina,) these surfaces are beyond time and culture. Although originating in one place as a result of a specific social context, the uninhibited presence of these aesthetics can be felt around the world.
     There is much argument over the issues of appropriating influence from different sources in contemporary ceramics. We have an online access to information, images, and techniques that artists have never before seen - making it all to easy to grab ideas employed by other cultures from different times.
     I am constantly reminded by my older mentors that:
          'in order for work to be meaningful it must be relevant to one's own unique time and culture, not the simple recreation of forms from a distant country or time period.' 
     In my experience I have found that there is no more meaningful method of producing work that is relevant to one's own time and place than through the committed use of indigenous clays excavated and processed by hand, local fuel sources that are personally harvested, split and stacked, and firing kilns whose many bricks have passed through your own hands.
      In this cycle, one becomes dependent on the land, looking to it not only for inspiration but for the fundamental materials of his or her craft. In the realm of unglazed, high fired wares these materials speak freely of their interactions and transformations - thus resulting in objects which uninhibitedly carry the true expressions of time and place.
     It is for this reason that I have sought the construction of a personal anagama created entirely from salvaged materials of my location. By using bricks from abandoned kilns, clay from a local deposit, and earth and stones from a hillside for insulation and buttressing, it is my intention that the kiln will carry the same expressions of time and place as the work to be fired within its walls.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


An entire life
spent building a palace -

yearning to live 
on the mountain's summit.

What name shall I build
for myself?

All I've needed
I found in a single blade of grass
years ago.

Let me be the wind 
that moves fields and stone.