With the cup moving from the table to the shelf, the focus of ceramic production has shifted from utilitarian to decorative. The art market’s continual search for perfection has stripped bowls, cups, and plates of their personal history. Utilitarian objects carry the story of their use in chips and stains that are deemed imperfections by collectors and investors.
As a studio artist, it is often hard to spend large sums of money, even if doing so would pay off in the long run, so glass artist Hugh Jenkins set out to determine just how well he could do with a home-built heat recuperator.
The idea of making a living as an artist was not taught (at the
university) as most students went into academic teaching jobs out of
school. I chose not to go that route. Instead, I went directly to New
York City. I soon got a part-time teaching job at NYU and then Parsons
School of Design as a way to pay the rent. My work progressed and I
began to show in a New York gallery.
At a very young age, I decided to become a ceramic artist and studied
art and ceramics with that intention. I opened my studio immediately
after school and began making pottery parallel to my research on more
sculptural pieces. Both need absolute concentration and discipline. I
chose to concentrate on sculpture.
I don’t believe I had an initial or conscious reason to pursue ceramic
sculpture as a profession; it just evolved through trying different
mediums. My father was a metal sculptor and my mother is a potter. I
always knew I wanted to be an artist, but I didn’t want to compete with
them, so I began in illustration. Eventually I realized I needed to
express myself through more expressive materials.
I have always been a maker/builder and need the experience of working with my hands. The engagement of my full mind and body to deconstruct and form the world is a way of trying to understand and bear witness to life.
An intense and unwavering commitment to my work preceded any idea of
generating income from art. Any idea, or body of work, worthy of the
honor of being purchased by a collector or museum is usually made
presuming it will not generate a dime, but must be made nonetheless.
Since I was a child, I have been making, breathing, and living art. My parents took me to museums in the ’60s and ’70s in New York City while visiting relatives. I was in high school and was trying to figure out what to do with my life. I did not want to do a receptive job; I wanted to do something creative, so I chose art.
Of all the well-known Japanese ceramic artists of the past four hundred years, men like Raku ware’s Chojiro, the Kyoto designers and decorators Ninsei Nonomura and Kenzan Ogata, and the innovative and technically brilliant Kozan Makuzu, by far the most famous and influential has been the twentieth century folk craft (mingei) movement potter Shoji Hamada (1894-1978).
Significant cost savings can be realized by potters without access to a landfill through a variety of strategies and fuel choices. These can be divided into categories and discussed in terms of benefits and difficulties. Solid fuels are difficult, liquid fuels are moderate, and gases are easier.