Life is a mystery that must be explored.  From an early age, I have attempted to artistically explain the character, the dignity and sometimes the absurdity of people, places and situations around me.  I want to express these things not only as I perceive them, but also as I fundamentally desire them to be.  As a clay artist, I encounter opportunities to relate in three dimensions while connecting firmly to an ancient tradition of human endeavor.

I touched raw clay for the first time when I was six years old.  My grandmother took me into the foothills of the Rocky Mountains where we gathered clay from an old road cut.  I vividly remember how the blues and greens of that summer day took on a heightened intensity as I modeled my first clay animals from that slippery, intriguing stuff.  When I came back to clay as a college art major, I felt a familiar, visceral reaction in the pit of my stomach.  I had come home.

As my experience with clay grew, so did my fascination with turning this malleable substance into stoneware.  I learned to stack a kiln by visualizing the flame patterns the setting would create.  I love the muffled roar of the gas flame, the dragon’s breath of the wood fire, the glow of a translucent-hot raku pot and the explosion of a sawdust reduction.  There is no better heat than a glowing kiln on a cool night.  I value the pots’ intimacy with the fire.

As a potter, I am inspired by the need to have my hands in clay and to periodically experience the fire.  As an artist, a feeling of harmonic discontent compels me.  The ability to form a statement in clay is synchronized with the need to convey a message.  The humble bowl is basic to the human experience, but it’s form and decoration can relate a story of joy, poise, and abundance.  A classic vase suggests antiquity and tradition, but energetically thrown off-center, it evokes the divine comedy.  I am grateful when my forms are taken into the everyday lives of the people with whom I cross paths, but I have few attachments to my finished work.  Instead I am curious, determined and fixated on pots that are yet to be created.  A sense of urgency directs me to discover and perfect the techniques through which the next expressions will unfold.

Am I creating the work, or is the work creating me?

Beverly Curtis