Oregon is my home where mountains and ocean are within an hour drive from my house. It's not by coincidence that I live in a place surrounded by nature. The underlying narrative throughout my work is an exploration of the natural world, humanity, and environmental issues. Each sculpture reflects these subjects by combining nature imagery with human centered objects. Animals on books with planets on their head or women dancing on bears are a way of keeping optimism & humor alive while addressing issues that I deeply care about.
China paints are colorful over-glazes that are traditionally painted on the glazed surface of porcelain ceramic ware. I use china paints a little differently. I paint on the unglazed but fully fired surface of the clay body, meaning that I fire my sculptures to the the clay body's mature temperature before I put the china paints on. The china paints are also kiln fired at a very low temperature to fuse them into the surface of the clay body. I do this to create a matt or satin finished surface that looks similar to water color. China paints are semi transparent and take on the look of whatever surface they are painted on. My clay body, being similar to porcelain, has a slight sheen to it when fully fired and the china paints contain just enough silica to fuse onto the surface of the clay in the last low temperature firing. I also enjoy using china paints because their transparent nature allows the detail of the black staining to show through the beautiful colors.
I handbuild most my work using slabs and clay coils. After building a sculpture or wall piece I let it set up until it is leather hard. At this point I draw the imagery and designs onto the surface and then carve the drawings in low relief. The piece must then dry for several days before it is kiln fired to the bisque stage where it is hardened but still porous enough to absorb the stain. My stain is a black underglaze that I use to shade and highlight the details in the images. The piece is then kiln fired to the clay body’s mature firing temperature of 2100^. When it cools I apply china paint and fire it again at a lower temperature to fuse the china paints into the clay body.