I began working with clay thirty years ago, while I was exploring several different forms of artistic expression, including but not limited to writing, oil painting, photography, weaving, metalwork, and stained glass. At the time I was also studying architecture, so my free time was somewhat constrained. Ah, youth!
Eventually I realized that I would never get anywhere with any one of these arts if I tried to work with them all at the same time, and I gravitated toward clay as the one medium with which I could most easily express myself. Over time I abandoned all pretenses at wheel work and immersed myself in hand-building, and my work became more and more sculptural. The truth is, I couldn’t draw or shape a straight line if I tried.
I’ve always been very interested in mythology and folklore, and living in the Pacific Northwest I naturally developed a passion for the wild world that surrounds us. I began making masks inspired by the Green Man, symbol of life and nature, who is most often associated with Celtic lore but actually is reflected in ancient cultures all over the world.
My masks have, for the most part, lost their leaves and berries, but my intent to depict “spirits of nature” has remained… You may notice how many imps, spirits, and tree men populate these pages. You will also see figures more naturalistic in form. All it takes is an idea, an image, a problem to solve, and a new series of work begins. I guess that is why clay artists never run out of possibilities.
All masks are fired in reduction with oxides and/or glazes, and are wired to be mounted on the wall.
When fired in reduction, the oxides and glaze pull oxygen from the clay body and the glaze chemicals, resulting in an almost magical transformation that is never completely predictable.