Bygone Notions

Various trains of thought from my college and early apprenticeship.

I made all of these as a Ceramics Apprentice at Berea College’s Student Crafts Program. I threw part-time as a work-study position, sometimes to strict production designs, sometimes with design freedom within a particular form. Needless to say, it’s the latter that I saved pictures of, although the former was probably even more valuable to me as a beginning thrower. Notably, we were allowed to make our own mug designs, tagged as variety mugs. I sometimes think this caused my lasting fondness for mugs….

This, of the same vintage, is my Berea College classwork. I had three semesters of independent work after my basic skill building classes, and I pursued porcelain slumping and glaze drips on the technical side, and variations on the Chinese hill jar, a form which as a result of having the lid fired upside down had the fascinating attribute of having the orientation of glaze in the lid and body reversed. As I moved those reversals into different configurations, the forms became less and less jar like, and in my senior year I had just started to notice that my persistent fascination was less with the drip and suspended gravity, and more with the point where the glaze met the clay.

This is my body of work just before Zygoplasia, which I called Parabolous, after its major surface element. I was making them right when I incorporated as a business and started officially selling my work, which I think in retrospect was driving my design in an uncharacteristic direction. In hindsight, I think I was shooting for that kind of clean, sober functionality in my colors and lines to represent mature adulthood. After a couple of years, I had to admit that it I wasn’t enjoying it and it didn’t suit me, and it was with a real sense of relief that I started breaking those lines into curves.