Changing Place and Changing Work

The bodies of work that were in my portfolio for graduate school are starkly different. The first body of work is made up of pinch pots using local clay from near St. Augustine, is rather small in scale, and is pit fired. This work is heavily influenced by the Native American pottery that I grew up finding on our beaches. It is rough, simple in construction and composition, and occasionally incised with simple line patterns. The second body of work is a stark contrast; it is thrown and altered commercial clay and glaze fired to ^6 in oxidation. This comprises the fishing lure vases for those familiar with my work. Definitely objective in nature, much time is taken texturing the body with scales etc. in order that the piece will resoundingly say ‘fish’. Interestingly enough I still receive the “I like it!... What is it supposed to be?” question… This I will address later.

            Presently I am seeking to break away from both of these bodies of work not because I no longer find them engaging, which I certainly do! I simply am trying to take the fullest advantage of the opportunities afforded me by the facilities here at FHSU. Among all of the formative techniques in ceramics, throwing comes easiest to me (largely due to the training I received during my apprenticeship) and throwing and altering I find wildly entertaining. Pursuant of this I am looking forward to utilizing atmospheric firings to take full advantage of all of the active curvature in this new body of work. As I am still in the development stage I have not even bisqued any of this work and new ideas are still precipitating out of the creative mists. Simply put: The tumblers I have made so far will more than likely serve as glorified test tiles since I have never fired the FHSU kilns or used their class glazes. I am OK with this, ^10 reduction is reasonably predictable; it is the Fast Fire wood kiln I am excited to experiment with. A Fast Fire is cryptically enough a ‘fast fire’ and incredibly efficient. Again, hearken to the previous post about enviro-economics and wisdom of resource use. Presently it is not operational though I have sweat and blood [but no tears] to spare and look forward to investing heavily in the restoration and testing efforts.

 

More will follow, naturally, and I must thank you for your time.

-Herrick Smith