What Inspires My Work?

Each piece is a three dimensional answer to a question. The question is simple but the answers are anything but simple both in mental concept and in construction. Several of my forms have taken 2-3 years of mulling, envisioning, and sketching to find the answer.

My first question I remember working on was: “What happens when two ovoids of similar but disparate sizes intersect?” What does that look like? There could be many answers to that question but mine came in the form of “Crescent”. I chose that they would join with the larger one forming an arch over the top of the piece.

Other questions I have asked are:
“What happens when you combine a rectilinear form with an organic one?” In this case I chose to make the organic form negative space and remove it from the heart of the angular form. “Continuity” came into being.

“How does a form that curves back on itself resolve perfectly?” After years of reflecting on that “Intersection” answered the question for me. Rather than become a spiral it intersected with itself and stopped.

My favorite forms are the answers to these questions and are a single shape that has nothing extra, no adornment, no secondary forms, no distracting color or surface pattern.

In contrast to the singular forms I do create bilateral pieces that I also find satisfying in that each side reflects the other creating a balance and intimate relationship. Several of my favorites are; “Kiss”, “Cardinal Connection”, and the “Bound Series”.

Once I answer the original question there are technical ones that often follow. “Can I engineer the form I see in my head?” “It seems too large, or unbalanced, or has a tunnel through it’s center, or is so top heavy that the clay will certainly collapse” are just a few of the technical questions that come after I envision the form. Usually with time and working with the sculpture in slow stages the engineering and technical questions get answered.

I consistently create all my original sculptures in water-based clay. I prefer a heavy grog body that allows for a uniquely textured finished surface. There is something about many of the forms that almost begs to be scaled up. This has been exciting for me in that they can become essentially a new piece in a  new material and take on a new meaning. Bronze and steel, both Corten steel and mild steel, give the sculptures a strong permanent sense, where the clay pieces seem more delicate, more intimate.

photography: Harry von Stark
“Twisted Lock” under construction – Vashon white grog stoneware clay

The sculpture above is one of three in the “Lock” series. The challenge for these works has been to take an 8″ square and have it curve continuously with the end square in a different orientation than the original. See claysection of the portfolio for completed pieces.

photography: Harry von Stark
“Continuity” in Corten steel under construction

Continuity, 8' H x 10' W x 4' D, Corten Steel, Veterans Home, Walla Walla, WA

photography: Harry von Stark
“Continuity” in Corten steel completed installed at the VA, Walla Walla ,WA