The way that clay stamps can activate and transform the clay surface has been a constant source of fascination to me, helping my work evolve and grow over the last 35 years. I’ve worked with traditional, impressed designs, and more recently with raised designs created via a two-step process. The platters with raised patterns are created using a hump mold and slab construction. First a pattern is stamped into a slab that’s been draped over a form, then this slab is dried and bisqued to create the mold. The surface designs on the mold create a convex, or raised pattern rather than the typical concave surface achieved with stamps. I came up with this idea a few years ago after becoming frustrated with the way traditional stamped patterns did not hold up when using drape molds. I wanted to make utilitarian forms that were elegant, had fine detail and could be reproduced. It was also essential to me that making these pieces kept my joy for working with clay alive!
We fill our days with rituals that enhance the richness of life, and as a potter, I find it satisfying to know that the vessels I create become part of someone’s daily routine. Teapots are certainly objects that become part of our small celebrations and rituals alike. While they can be used as an exuberant expression of art conveying a concept other than the ritual of drinking tea, I prefer to think of my teapots as functional vessels: strong, quiet, balanced, and elegant. Traditionally the most seductive and complex of pottery forms, the parts and pieces that make up a teapot must work in harmony with one another. While it’s difficult to master the unity in design and scale of all the parts as a beginning potter, it’s worth the effort to make teapots even if you’re a novice. Completing a complex form gives a sense of joy and accomplishment; and, with practice, the relationship of all of the parts and the overall form will improve.