I recently wrote a new Artist Statement…
I grew up in a small town in New Hampshire, surrounded by handmade things. Every Christmas my mom would go to the fabric store and buy all the different color corduroy that they had in stock to sew pants for us. The quilts on our beds and the curtains on the windows were made by her as well. Although my sister and I played with Barbies, the clothes were purchased at craft fairs, and my dad made beds for them that my mom finished off with hand sewn mattresses, pillows and quilts. My father is a painter. I’ve always been surrounded by his work, and observed him while he was inspired by the natural beauty of the New England landscape.
Things in our family were often handmade out of necessity. My mom baked all of our bread, in part, because it was less expensive. But it was also because she loved the process of making it. Growing up in an environment where so many things were made by hand that could have been more easily purchased, I learned to consider and appreciate the story behind a piece. The value comes from the care and thoughtfulness put in by the maker.
Coming from New Hampshire, it’s easy to recognize the beauty of the environment. Six years ago I moved to Chicago, where the beauty of the environment is not as apparent. Beauty is still there, but it’s in the more intimate aspects of life, not in majestic landscapes. I discovered that my inspiration came from the things that I encountered everyday; no longer a forest or a mountain, but those moments amid the busyness of the city where people slow down and appreciate their surroundings. I am honored when my pots can be a part of those moments in people’s lives. Perhaps they will become as familiar to you as the patterns of the cracks in the ceiling above your bed.
Making pots is quiet and personal, an experience I want to be reflected in the pots themselves. But I also am a potter in a community of potters, working alongside both students and peers. Being a potter in a community, it is now hard to imagine myself as a solitary potter. Everyday I share resources, experience, and perspective with my fellow artists. As part of a large community I’ve been given many opportunities to teach students with diverse talents and backgrounds. Teaching has let me experiment with new ideas and perspectives, challenging myself at the same time as I challenge my students.
Being a potter is a very balanced profession. As a potter I am a designer, a maker, a business owner, a laborer a chemist, and a physicist. I love throwing, trimming, pulling handles, firing, I love to decorate, to sketch out ideas in the clay. I am lucky that given all the aspects of my profession, I love and enjoy them each, and I love the product of my craft and its place in the world and in people’s lives.