The act of taking a flat piece of clay and creating a volume excites me because I envision infinite structural potential, the ability to evoke architecture and gesture which deviates from the round with such ease. My present line of inquiry leads me to generate functional pottery celebrating it’s slab-built construction with a decorative vocabulary consisting of pattern, narrative, and drawing. Historical and cultural sources I derive influence from for the ornamentation and formal decisions include Japanese kimono fabrics, tattoos, and mythology, haute couture garment silhouettes, Peruvian leather and wood tooling, Pre-Columbian and ancient Chinese zoomorphic vessels, and the Texas flora and fauna existing around me. The suggested narrative is typically a vignette of both real and imagined animal or plant life, which is both activated by and remote from the viewer’s perspective to varying degrees. Human attention to a domesticated animal by and large has more influence on the activities and setting in which that creature interacts, while the primal behavior of the wild animal is only enjoyed as by a voyeur. The insertion of pattern and the graphic treatment of the drawings emphasize the human element both as a homage to human influence on the scene and a sort of visceral self portrait. I am also attentive to the cultural norms present in how people use functional ceramic objects. Thus, the form and function quietly influence the user in the way to handle a particular pot. As a designer I pursue aesthetically pleasing objects, 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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