I REMEMBER NOTICING an orange patch in my yard when I was about 12. So I dug the clay and formed it into bowls, left them to bake in the sun, then painted them. The experience of pulling the clay from the ground, feeling its coolness on my hands, is still very vivid to me. My hands and sense of touch are so important to my work—sensing the thickness of the clay, dryness, malleability, pushing it into form. I wish I could mold my fingertips into tiny points for greater detail and accuracy. I also use metal, wooden and rubber-tipped tools. Heat is an incredibly important tool for what I do. Heat transforms fragile clay into durable ceramic.
My early work explored the vessel as a sculptural object referencing the figure or as reliquary, embodying ritual and containment. My work has evolved to investigate social and environmental issues connected to our cultural desire to manipulate the landscape to communicate notions such as wealth, power, stability and leisure. I am a feminist and an environmentalist. Those ideas show up in my work, like questioning the environmental cost of lawns or subverting minimalist, typically masculine, forms through my feminine approach.
Inspiration strikes at random, especially when I allow my mind a bit of time to wander, and it’s generally the easy part. Most of my pieces take several months, or even a year, to complete. Time, focus and perseverance are the things I have to channel. I have made over 100,000 blades of porcelain grass at this point. It can sometimes feel meditative, and sometimes monotonous. These feelings are punctuated by small bursts of excitement when I open a kiln full of finished pieces, solve a problem, get into a show or think of a new idea.
→ “I am a feminist and an environmentalist. Those ideas show up in my work, like questioning the environmental cost of lawns or subverting minimalist, typically masculine, forms through my feminine approach.”