I approach the studio as research space to render objects through observation, haptic touch, and digital methods. Through these processes I am surveying the object as a format of communication. This format of visual meaning is articulated by the style of depiction, alteration of materiality, and method of display.
I use haptic materials like clay because they are uniquely responsive; they can be formed with nuance from an accurate depiction to an expressive interpretation. This ability to create diverse visual qualities simultaneously allows control of the context and cadence of an object. The process of material transmutation that is paramount to ceramic processes is applied as an ideology to my cross disciplinary practice. One that places conceptual importance on the implications of materiality and the methods used to form it.
In “Echo of a Witch Totem” a piece of mosey driftwood from the Missouri river is bound to a ceramic replica of a stone resembling an ear and a bundle of nails from my father’s shop floor that were collected shortly after his death. This bundle is a talisman, a protector of speaking and hearing for the deceased. It was made in response to the contents commonly placed in Bellarmine Witch Bottles from 16th and 17th century England that gave material form to spells whispered into bottles. The talisman hovers in a translucent resin bottle made by coating the interior of a bottle thrown in soft stoneware. The clay was then washed away to reveal the cast record of the form’s hidden interior. The talisman’s 3D scanned record lies adjacent, cast in recycled aluminum, inert and enacted.
The process of material transmutation acknowledges that force (an analog or digital touch) and formulation can shift a material through possibly endless compositions and meanings, just like language. This reveals that forming material is means of understanding, and communicating, ideas that is fast and slow and tangible.
Digital modeling and CNC tools further transmute my role as maker by replacing the analog mark of the hand with the digital. This introduces a touch that lacks the haptic and mirrors the dichotomy of our evolving relationship between nature, technology, and history.
My sculptures are composed to present poetic compositions of objects inviting interactions that are not linear, existing outside a known timeline, that remain open to interpretation. I use display strategies that echo the still life, collection, or staged set to place the works in the respective contexts of a poem, essay, or story. It is a means to communicate philosophic and poetic meaning surrounding the human experience in an object format.