Saturday, July 13, 2013
10 am to 3 pm
Bracker’s Good Earth Clays
On Their Second Saturday:
Sam Schmidt and Alita Sledz will be demonstrating platters with inlay designs. Sam throws the platters and Alita carves, incises, and pierces the clay with dramatic designs.
TWO THOUSAND YEAR LEGACYI have a fascination with working in the round. My introduction began with a lathe in a wood working class. Something about the spinning, working with my hands on a fixed plane and my media moving, makes sense. It is as if I had muscle memory for something I hadn’t yet done. In ceramics, I naturally gravitate towards the wheel.2008 was an eventful year for me. My relationship with ceramics changed in two respects. Prior to that year ceramics was just a hobby. I had made some money at selling some pieces, but I could have set it down and walked away without looking back at any point.A trip to China in the summer of 2008 brought me a new found respect for pottery. Much of the art I saw there was so much older than anything we have here in the United States. And so much of the pottery looked indistinguishable from contemporary pieces you could see today on the cover of Ceramics Monthly. The art form has remained virtually unchanged for the past two thousand years. The level of detail of these ancient Chinese pots revealed how much attention the potters gave to each piece.
Later that Fall while visiting family in Wisconsin, I fell very suddenly ill and was hospitalized. During my treatment I began working on a series of vases that I had no intentions of selling. Focusing my full attention to each piece as I was working distracted me from the pain I was enduring. Pottery became my physical therapy. Since that year, I take my ceramics seriously with a greater attention to detail and working with diligence to keep making more pots.
I strive to see my work in the hands of users; being beaten, chipped, and sometimes even broken. I would rather make art that lives a hard life in the kitchen cabinet rather than sit on a high shelf gathering dust. I like to see where the imperfections occur so each chip is a lesson of how to modify the next one. In my personal collections of mine, I have mugs from early on to ones I made last firing. The evolution of the mug for me reminds me how far I have come.
The next stage before me at the current moment is combining my personal skills with another artist. Taking something very personal to me and inviting another being into that space feels almost like being violated. My fiancée has just turned what I thought finished pieces into another realm of beauty that I could never have achieved on my own. We are now working together; I make the canvas as she makes the scene. There are many more challenges to work through when another soul is working on the same piece, but so far the results are outstanding.
~ Sam Schmidt