Because I am a mother and an artist these two worlds are intertwined. My five (almost six!)-year-old daughter, Olive spends time with me in the studio often and always wants to create alongside me. From the time I returned to the studio after having her she has had her hands in clay with me.
Her confidence in this creative space is something that, as an adult, I strive for: Strong lines, decisiveness, continual stream of consciousness and story behind the work. I am humbled and inspired by these artistic strengths. Somehow, in growing up they have become less accessible to me.
These cups are a culmination of, and a window into, our studio moments together. For me they are an attempt to preserve this precious time I share with my daughter. And to remember some of the profound lessons I have learned from her. They are also grown out of a desire to share this experience with others.
Our process is simple. The cups are thrown by me and handed over to Olive for decoration. For these Olive used underglazes (color) and sgraffito (scratching through clay and color) to obtain the images. As she decorated sometimes I wrote down things that I thought were significant or other times she would tell me exactly what she wanted written on the pot. You might see some words but often they are too small or lost in the process of glazing or firing to actually read.
Olive’s knowledge of ceramic material has grown over the years so that she crushes fewer pots in her enthusiasm and so that she can carry out a vision with relative ease. When a piece is finished, she says, “This one’s done, Mom.” Sometimes I still ask, “Are you sure…?” But I’m learning. She always is.