Shari Jacobs-1-bowl-primary image.jpg

“Working in clay, I find myself drawn to making pieces that are quietly unexpected, that catch the eye because they contain a contrast or a visual contradiction. I am interested in the place where a tightly thrown, symmetrical, refined shape, meets a more fluid, even chaotic form of decoration. In some ways, this interest arises from a love for the process of making wheel-thrown ceramics. A pottery wheel is a machine, meant to help the potter make perfectly symmetrical forms. But it’s not a factory machine meant for mass production; there are human hands behind every wheel-thrown piece, and we humans are individual, imperfect, and contradictory. When I decorate a precisely-thrown bowl with impulsive hand carving, or run my fingers through a frosting of thick slip, I’m giving a machine-made object a bit of human life.

There is also an interesting contrast between the malleable quality of the wet clay, and the hard, static solidity of the finished piece. Carving, bending, or dripping the wet clay ensures that the user of the final fired object cannot ignore the material from which it was made. When the finished piece refers back to the soft clay from which it grew, it has the appearance of being two things simultaneously: soft and hard, kinetic and static. I make functional pottery rather than sculptural because it is simultaneously needed and wanted, both mundane and artistic.”

Studio number 6

Return to artisans