“Simulant”, 2021

I’ve struggled in the studio this past year.  I’ve followed dead-ends and opened kiln-loads of failures in a misguided attempt to make more marketable work.  Burnt out, a few weeks ago I finally stopped and asked myself, “Why am I doing this?”  Why has my studio time become full of anxiety and stress?  Why am I pursuing ideas I don’t truly care about?

I thought of how much I missed my friends, family, and studio in China.  Of coming across ancient shards in the Jingdezhen countryside, haggling with antique dealers, watching master artisans, experimenting with traditional materials.  The joy of discovery.

So I decided to go back to the beginning of my journey.  Using chemical analyses and US materials, I recreated traditional Chinese materials like porcelain stone, glaze stone, and glaze ash.  Limiting myself to these “fake” materials, I blended them to create porcelain bodies and glazes that, after firing, reminded me of “home”.

I only had time to fire a single small kiln load of these “fake” ceramics.  About half were failures or ill-conceived forms.  My brushwork is still abysmal 🙂  But I’m happy to finally be back on my own path.