To see more of Earl’s work, please visit his facebook page, Barn Studio Pottery.
As an artist, I have tried most mediums, and have found that clay or ceramics is one of my favorites. I remember as a child, I touched clay and realized it was a quick but forgiving medium. Now as an adult and having played with clay for over 9 years on a constant basis, I have found out that it is just the opposite and that it has a memory. Clay is one of the mediums that once you try it, you end up living it. I suggest that if you are looking for a medium of passion, unforgiveness and concreteness, you need to try clay as a medium. I still have a passion for drawing and painting, and these elements come in to play with clay. You can draw and paint but when you are done, you need to start wedging, molding and actually making that image into a three-dimensional object. I prefer bowls and vases to other vessels while throwing on the wheel. I have tried to make the perfect bowl, and the perfect vase. Along the way of this quest, you think you may have made it and then you create another one that’s better, then another one. You get all of these bowls and vases that you like and sometimes love, but when you go to the next level, which is firing and glazing, there are more elements working against you. You fire the pot by passing all of the mistakes that could go wrong with the glaze application and the pot comes out of the kiln different than your expectations were. This can be in most cases positive or negative but is the best learning tool. These processes and steps make clay or ceramics wonderful.
When looking at glazes I love the way they melt, run and fuse differently. It is a challenge to get the combinations of those glazes to mesh and look good together. This is a result of letting go and giving up the piece to the kiln. It is going to take over whether you want it to or not, if you want it to be permanent.
As a self-taught potter, I continue to learn from books, and friends in the trade. While volunteering at the Boston Hurley School, I set up a project to complete a wall mural. Some of the children had the chance to touch clay for the first time, as I did when Iwas that age. They started the project with a mural on paper and then they followed the steps for the completed tile project, a landscape of Boston. This kind of project allowed them to get a grasp on “completion”. One of the reasons that I like clay so much is the end product is done and completed, making it permanent, physically and mentally for views or users of the future.