"Shield Mandalas"
Ceramic Wall Pieces or Tabletop Art, in 15", 20", & 25" Sizes

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"A manís work is nothing but this slow trek to rediscover,
through the detours of art,
those two or three great and simple images
in whose presence his heart first opened."

Albert Camus


My Ceramic Artwork


   From the Sanskrit, "Mandala", as defined by Jung, is a geometric projection of the world, reduced to an essential pattern, used for contemplation or meditation.

   Twenty five years ago, I began to experiment with what I call my Shield Mandalas. As always, I look to the natural world for inspiration. The shape of the shields is inherently organic, their contour made in a cloth sling, a natural arch. They remind me of a sand dollar, a mushroom cap, a tortoise shell, a shield. To describe their concave shape to anyone who hasn't seen them except on a flat web page, I would say that they also look a lot like a satellite dish with a foot-ring on the back, although not as deep. The shape really lends itself to working with glazes and design, I treat them like canvases.

   Each piece is decorated as a mandala: a circle telling a story. I frequently incorporate archetypal images in their design--ladders, pools of water, earthly and extraterrestrial landscapes, glimpses through microscopes and telescopes, and the four directions-- themes found in cultural arts from around the world.

   I pour as many as 7 glazes over one another, using hot wax brushwork to resist between the layers (like batik). Fired in a natural gas kiln in a reduction atmosphere to 2400 degrees Fahrenheit, the glazes boil and bubble in beautiful, often unpredictable ways. When the glazes fully melt, and smooth out at peak temperature, there often remains a distinct pattern on the surfaces, remnants of the glazes' pyrolytic molten creation. If viewed closely, one might think to compare these surfaces to hare's fur, butterfly wings, oil spots on water...

   I have always appreciated the organic mystery of natureís hand at work on the land, and search for ways to take my work toward that kind of living artistry. So many times, this craft has reminded me of a man-made geological process, where I take all kinds of earth materials, mix them together with water and fire and air, and then wait as something alchemical takes place in the kiln. When Iím lucky, I feel as though Iíve collaborated with nature in making clay come alive.


You can reach me by e-mail at my  Contact Address

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This Page Was Last Updated on December 02, 2016