pottery by carol ross
Handmade, useable pottery has intrigued me for a long time. The cup or plate or bowl or vase makes a journey, from maker to owner, and at each end there's a story. A couple of years ago, I decided to be part of that tale.

I hand build my work (this is my story) using clay slabs. I use my hands to urge the slab into forms or lay it onto a mold. As the clay dries, I continue to smooth and shape it, patting and rubbing the surface. When it's nearly dry, I apply colored slip or underglaze, and then I draw and carve into it, creating a pattern or figure. It's an old process, known as sgraffito, and although it could be tedious and certainly is time-consuming, I find it meditative and calming.

Usually, I base the carving on folk art. I love the simple shapes that often lead to a complex narrative. The colors call to me and I like to find a single color that unites the shapes and story.

These pieces, after firing, glazing, and re-firing, often come out a bit wonky. Wabi-sabi*. I see this as the indication of the maker's hand on the clay, direct and intimate. If you're uneasy with this wonkiness, this work may not be for you.

My goal is to put my work into someone else's hands and that's the other part of my work's journey. I want my work to be used. Perhaps put on a shelf between uses, but handled and touched by someone's hands, much like it was by mine. I think we have a conversation with each other, maker and owner, as the cycle completes itself. The owner/user might come to understand how the piece was made, knowing that its imperfections are an integral part of the process of making. Sensing that this piece was made with intention and with love.

*"Wabi-sabi... represents a comprehensive Japanese world view or aesthetic centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is "imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete".
- Wikipedia,

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