It has never been easy to make a living through handmade ceramics, whether you’re an artisan, a gallery owner, an arts center, or a school. Here is an example of how all four constituencies came together
to promote the art and culture of their region. The trick? It would
need to be economically feasible and advantageous for all parties, to
expand the potential audience for everyone involved, and benefit those
participating in a way otherwise not achievable. In short, it would
require a lot of creativity and cooperation.
A field of blooming cotton under a blue sky can be dazzling, even
disorienting as its snowy appearance conjures associations radically at
odds with the dry heat of a summer day. This curious confounding of the
senses is perhaps only fitting, since cotton is enveloped by other,
more troubling, contradictions as well. Fleecy white cotton bolls are
visually and tactically among the most appealing of all natural forms,
and there is little wonder that an artist should find them formally
inspiring. To the eye, what could better exemplify purity?
Daniel Johnston does not blush about his humble beginnings, nor will he turn his back on the historical influences that shaped who he is today. In fact, by way of introduction, he insists on announcing his genealogy in clay. “I have been trained in the Leach, Cardew and Hewitt school of making pots,” his artist statement and our interview begin. Bernard Leach is widely recognized as the grandfather of studio pottery in the United States and Michael Cardew was Leach’s student. From 1997 to 2001, Johnston apprenticed with Mark Hewitt, a student of Cardew’s. As Johnston began to navigate from
these influences toward a voice of his own, an additional triumvirate of geographical influences came together: England, Thailand, and North Carolina.
My favorite aspect of the studio is that it is in the middle of the city hustle. It has good lighting with a view of my succulent collection, the inspiration for much of my work. However, the studio plays only a small part in my creative process. Because the majority of my current work is installation-based, it relies on the process of installing the work in a specific space. In other words, I see my work as being created in a studio without walls.