The Story

I decided to become a potter at the age of twenty-one after spending six months living on the island of Crete. By that time I already had four years of classes and experience in making pots. I also had several major travel excursions under my belt, including many months traveling through Mexico and a six month odyssey through the countries of Europe.

These travel adventures instilled in me a profound interest and respect for other cultures and ways of living. Through all these trips was woven an interest in pottery that culminated in my decision on Crete to pursue a life as a potter. There, I was surrounded by the rugged beauty that is Crete, so powerfully expressed in the nature-revered ceramics of the ancient Minoans. The work of those potters, still bursting with life 4000 years later, inspired my resolve to become a potter.

While I already possessed some technical skill it was clear to me that I needed to pursue more formal training and began researching schools with a strong ceramic program. Walter Ostrom convinced me to study with him at NSCAD and introduced me to working with earthenware clay. His knowledge of ceramic history dovetailed with my interest in the pottery of other cultures that was ignited by my travel experiences. An enthusiastic student, I found earthenware provided a versatile means for my cross-cultural exploration.

The soft, sensual quality of earthenware clay, its strength and plasticity in the forming stage, the immediacy of the slipping process, and the myriad of possibilities for decoration were attributes of the material that I responded to. The rich worldwide history and traditions of earthenware pottery provided a vast resource to explore and learn from.

I am endlessly fascinated with the story of the evolution of ceramics. The numerous cultures that make up humanity have each developed traditions of ceramics by translating diverse influences through their own unique blend of materials, techniques and cultural beliefs. Through trade, conflict, and migration, cultures have influenced each other, resulting in new ideas being born, new aesthetic solutions being investigated. I enjoy tracing stylistic developments from one culture to the next and through the centuries.

Just as one of the greatest lessons of travel is to put one's own life in perspective, so too journeying through the centuries of the history of ceramics gives context to contemporary ceramic practice. Many contemporary potters are influenced by the ceramics of other cultures in other times. By understanding the context and history of one's influences it is possible to make intelligent, informed choices based in a coherent language of aesthetics.

I have continued to explore the history of ceramics in the context of the cultures where the work was produced. This has enabled me to combine my passion for ceramics with my love of travel in a way that keeps me inspired, informed, balanced and vital. I have traveled and undertaken research in China, Mexico, Europe, Turkey, South Korea and Morocco. A residency in Italy where I had the opportunity to interpret my experience with immediacy was richly rewarding. I hope to continue with my travel research and look forward to creating well considered contemporary objects encoded with historical references that can offer an intellectual, visual, and sensual experience that enriches one's life.