Thursday, December 9, 2010
Pots From Way Back When
These mugs were made by Kari Smith while she was at Utah State back around 1998-1999. She had been challenging the idea of a thrown form becoming something other than round. I think these twisted, facetted forms of hers were some of the most amazing pots to come out of the program.
The first tumbler was fired in a reduction-cool kiln. John Neely pioneered the idea of cooling a kiln while maintaining a reducing atmosphere. This creates a rich dark grey to black clay. Very exciting surfaces!
The second tumbler was fired in a huge salt kiln.
The last tumbler and all of the subsequent images were fired in the school's woodfired kiln, affectionately known as the Train.
Kari and I met when she transferred into the undergraduate program during my second year. She had already spent time in school in Ohio under Brad Schweiger (also a USU grad). As Kari and I got to know one another, we would take time periodically to give informal crits that ended up usually being big brainstorming sessions. It went both ways too. There were so many things that she and I worked on... and at the time, I didn't realize that it wouldn't always be that way. The last work of Kari's I saw was from her grad school work. Huge pieces made to fill the inside of a wood kiln, it its entirety. I have no idea how this body of work survived firing. I wish I had images to show, but as of yet, I can find virtually nothing from this show.
Part of what made me decide the shoot Kari's work this week was that I was showing them off to a friend of mine who insisted that they were handbuilt. It took a very lengthy explanation of Kari's process for them to realize that not only were these pots thrown on the wheel, but that they were twisted while wet, rasped with a shur-form rasp... and then had the feet cut. So much handwork was involved in each tumbler, and yet, when I flipped the woodfired one over, the price tag was still under there. $12. It breaks my heart. These tumblers are unlike any I have ever seen. And she was only asking $12 for them.
Merry Christmas Kari, wherever you are this year. Bon feu.