Design, production, glaze formulation, firing, shipping, emailing; you get it...
- MA Sustainable Communities, Northern Arizona University
- BS Natural Resource Science and Politics, Humboldt State University
- AA Sociology, Foothill College
Mr Gnomekins resides over the studio directing much of our day to day operations. He likes very short walks (ok standing still) in the garden, rainbow capes, and warming by the 2000 degree kiln
Sometimes you need a hand getting everything done. I occasionally have both formal and informal studio assistants who rock, as well as the best community of fellow potters to procrastinate and collaborate with daily.
I grew up on the water and in the woods around the San Francisco Bay, soaking up the sights, sounds, and flavors of the Bay Area. My earliest adventures included setting out solo in my little rowboat, Buttercup. Those adventures often entailed long daydreams, communing with seals, and getting swept away by tides with a small amount of panic and frantic rowing because I was not supposed to have traveled so far to begin with. With the Santa Cruz Mountains at my back door, an afternoon hike in soft redwoods and oak woodlands, balanced the ever-busy hum of bay area culture.
In my early teens I left to travel the west coast on sailing ships. My incredible shipmates introduced me to a world of wandering, and taught me what it meant to truly live and love. While sailing, I ventured to new cities, slept in sails, and lived in several coastal states before hitting dry land more permanently.
Recently, exploring the woods and mountain ecosystems of the west has scratched an itch I always had when I looked up and wondered how hard it would be, and how long it would take, to get to the top of the mountains I drove past. While lush coast ranges feel so homey to me, these bigger and drier mountain ranges are vast with seemingly endless expanses of land that I am still trying to get comfortable with. Today, the sights, sounds, and flavors of my travels, and the curious awkwardness in exploring both the familiar and the daunting ecosystems I call home, heavily influence my ceramics process.
For ages, boat builders have pushed the limits of balancing beautifully proportioned lines with smart and simple functionality. Similar curves, proportions, and design elements work their way into my pottery, complimented by inspiration from the woods, mountains, and coast ecosystems that I call home.
I start with sketches before moving on to small test runs of varied designs. If some of those feel right, I pull out their best design aspects to incorporate into larger production batches. Each batch comes out a little different but I try to have some larger runs of styles that I continue to make throughout the year. My non-production pieces are one-off works that I make to explore different ideas and are at times wildly different from my typical work.
I largely wheel throw and slab build my work out of stoneware or porcelain. I make a variety of my own tools to meet the exact needs of my processes. Wheel thrown pieces are always trimmed, sometimes altered, and are often quite precise. Hand built slab works are more heavily composed and textured, sometimes showing seams and joints to highlight their constructed form. Both styles are often reverently nodding to the artisan influence of pre-industrial designs.
I fire to cone 6 oxidation in electric kilns, which I find to be both practical and versatile. I mix my own glazes and do extensive testing to get just the right glaze for the form and function of my works. The resulting pieces are sturdy, usable, food safe, and lead-free.