I love clay for its simplicity and complexity. Pottery is an ancient elemental art: earth, water, air, and fire. But clay offers endless invitations to experiment with shapes and surfaces and firing processes. After 36 years of working with clay, I feel like I’m still just beginning to explore some of its possibilities, and I can’t wait to get to my studio every morning.
When I was six years old, I watched a potter make a bowl on his kickwheel, and I was lost to the magic of clay. I got my first chance to work on the wheel at Wells College, and continued taking clay classes at the University of South Carolina, Clemson University, Arrowmont, and Penland. For many years, Dan and I lived in Clemson, SC but spent weekends in Avery County, NC in a cabin that Dan’s parents built. In 2001, we bought an old house in Pineola, NC, renovated it into a studio, and built our gas-fired soda kiln. In 2008, I retired after 25 years as a psychology professor at Clemson University, Dan retired as the director of the Oconee County Mental Health Center, and we moved to Avery County full-time.
I love surfaces transformed by wind, water, and time: worn stone carvings at Angkor Wat, mottled copper greens of ancient Chinese bronzes. Living in the rugged climate and terrain of the Blue Ridge Mountains has changed my work. Grandfather Mountain, the Linville River, and the woods behind my studio offer continually changing studies in color, light, and texture. The surfaces of my pots reference these variations: the movement of wind and water over rock and vegetation, the luminosity of ice and snow. Using stoneware and porcelain, I throw on a kickwheel, and then paddle, carve, or facet the pot. Because mugs, bowls, and cups spend so much time in their user's hands, I carve deep texture into these pieces to engage your sense of touch as you sip your morning coffee or spoon your favorite ice cream. I hope my pots will lead active, useful lives.