I view my family as my first teachers with their strong work ethic, sense of craftsmanship, and their ingenuity with working with available material. Due to the influences, I have a respect for the trades and working with one’s hands. I come from a working class family in rural, southern Indiana. My father is a retired assembly line working who worked at a factory that produced "Faultless" casters. His father, my grandfather, was a carpenter and a cabinetmaker. My mother works a seamstress and she learned sewing from her mother, my grandmother.
I had my first experience with ceramics in high school with my teacher, Don Crane, who encouraged me to study at the University of Evansville (UE). I strongly resonate with the metaphor of the ceramic vessel and the human body. My undergraduate teacher, Les Miley at UE, made me well aware of the references to the human body to pottery. His simple and eloquent use of the woods "the foot", "the lip", "the shoulder", and "the belly" taught me how to look at a pot. Jim Lawton, my teacher at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, compared altering his pots with the process of darting clothes. Instead of altering a garment around the human body, the vessel is altered around a conceived volume.
In my work, I reference textile patterns and patterns from other sources and apply them to the "fabric" of the clay. Often these patterns are tessellations, patterns that repeat and go on and on, only to be met with a seam, a lip, a foot and then continue on in the next panel in a different direction. Many of these patterns are nostalgic to me, such as paisleys, plaids, checkerboard, hounds tooth, and other loud patterns found on 1970’s-era clothing. The patterns are created digitally and then wood-fired. The idea of new and old process fascinates me, but in the end what pleases me the most is the variation in color and soft flowing kiln atmosphere that blurs the tight edge designs. The firing gives the "fabric" a sense of time and wear like an old work shirt, albeit a fancy work shirt.