Artist Statement / Cynthia McDowell / Earthfired Pottery

Artist Statement

Mixing clay, throwing on the wheel, surface decoration, stacking wood, creatively stacking pottery into the wood kiln and most importantly doing it on my own schedule. I appreciate the range of tasks involved with a studio pottery lifestyle. When I finally get to sit down and enjoy a beverage or meal from a finished piece, it is wonderful. I think about the inspiration for making the form, surface tools that I used, the kiln it was fired in, people involved... it's really a full experience. As the artist, there is a story within each and every one of my pots. 

 

The unknown aspect of firing atmospherically really excites me. Whether in a soda kiln or week long wood firing, I work with the flame to decorate my pots. I can make the pottery, load and fire the kiln, but the unpredictable outcome of the fired surface can be quite extraordinary. Every wood kiln is different too, adding to the variation in surface. So, traveling to fire at other locations and this sort of adventure is thrilling to me.  

 

My pottery is Southwestern in style/surface design, imaginative, contemporary, textural and refined. It is unique, functions well and sometimes references nature. A beautiful form with no glaze, just wood kiln effects can be quite stunning as home decor.

I use few tools, just what is necessary to get the job done. My favorite tool is a dried up corn cob that I found on the ground while hiking.

I think it's natural for influences to shift over time, just as our tastes do as we age. Lately, I am focusing more intensely on form and studying a lot of 18th century American and French pottery. The traditional vessels have very pleasing aesthetics.

 

Personally, I strive to make others feel comfortable around me as well as in my home. So, my pottery should have a warm feeling and also rustic elegance. I like to add surface design using flashing slips, distressed marks, texture and carving. Maintaining balance between flame and ash while keeping surface decor minimal is important. My artistic choices within the pot must be open and versatile to harmonize well with the wood kiln. Inspiration comes from saddle blanket patterns, my animals, aliens, UFO's, western movies, mountain & mesa landscapes and fishing. 

For me it's all about the journey- progressing in craftsmanship, figuring out clay and glazes, firing various kilns and refining my artistic style. I truly enjoy the pottery community, their down to earth personalities and willingness. I strive to inspire creativity in others, tactilely enriching peoples lives with my handmade pots. To me, gratification occurs with a great firing or when somebody wraps their hands around a cup, puts it to their lips and smiles with contentment and wonder. 

 

 

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