I handbuild functional pottery celebrating it’s manually touched construction, luring the user to desire contact with the overt awareness that we have touched the same places. I build layered surfaces with a decorative vocabulary consisting of pattern, narrative, and drawing. Historical and cultural sources I look at for the ornamentation and formal decisions include Japanese kimono fabrics, tattoos, and mythology, haute couture garment silhouettes, Peruvian leather and wood tooling, Mesoamerican and ancient Chinese zoomorphic vessels, and the Texas flora and fauna existing around me. I narrate a vignette of both real and imagined animal or plant life, which is both activated by and remote from the viewer’s perspective. Attention paid to a domesticated animal will inevitably relate to the human perception of ownership, and coupling that subject with a vessel reinforces the sense of dominion. On the other hand, the primal behavior of the wild animal is only enjoyed voyeuristically. The insertion of pattern and the graphic treatment of the drawings emphasize the human element and result from my search for identity. I am also attentive to the cultural norms present in how people use functional ceramic objects, which is to say the form and function can quietly influence the user in the way to handle a particular pot. I enjoy challenging that mute dictum by employing ever more intuitive, formally untypical vessels. I bring my designer's eye to my pursuit of aesthetically pleasing objects with sound function and manual comfort because the joy of using handmade pottery results from a successful confluence of these elements. Ceramic artists I look to for inspiration include Bernadette Curran, Margaret Bohls, Sue Tirrell, Jennifer Allen, and Gail Kendall.

-Amy L. Henson

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