I enjoy the process of making nature-inspired pottery, because it teaches me new things about myself. My pottery journey began nearly 30 years ago, when I began to explore pottery in workshops at community art centers and with well-known potters.
In the last few years I have focused on primarily making wheel and hand-thrown functional clay items — mugs, bowls, pitchers, berry bowls, casseroles, etc. — though I do also make purely sculptural pieces. My current interest is in combining clay with sections of discarded tree branches that I discover during solo walks in the woods.
My inspiration stems from early childhood experiences with my family during summer trips to our country’s national forests. I distinctly remember discovering that being surrounded by tall forest trees to be an extremely comforting experience, similar to being warmly hugged. And in feeling the strength of the enormous mountain ranges, I was overcome by a sense of wonder at my own small place in the world.
The techniques I use in my pieces not only reflects my love of those beautiful spaces, but my interest in the Eastern philosophy of wabi-sabi. Rooted in Zen Buddhism, wabi-sabi is the art of finding beauty in “imperfection.” The “imperfections” in the branches are what actually guide me in how I use them. Some become the handles of mugs or pitchers. Others become the defining element in a sculptural piece that flows with the branches’ transitions and curves.
I find the creative aspect of observing what develops from my combination of clay and wood to be incredibly peaceful and fulfilling. As I work, I am further awakened to both myself and nature. I see my pottery as weaving a story that exudes truths and emotions. The clay is newly formed, but the branches have the honor of reflecting the vibrant life they once had.
My hope is that as you view — and touch — my pieces, you will hear the stories they are so eloquently sharing.
Photograph by Sarah Hefner Photography
Wood Handle Serving Bowls, Stoneware, 6″ x 6″
Wood Handle Pitcher, Stoneware, 4.5″ X 13″
Wood Handle Mugs, Stoneware, 3″ x 4″
Wood Handle Pitcher – 4″ x 6″
Flasks, Stoneware, 4″ x 5″
White Crackle Teapot, Stoneware, 3″ x 6″