Stephen Procter

Inspiration

Ever since falling in love with clay I have been fascinated by large vessels— the sense of presence they emanate, the sensuous language of their curves, the way they beckon the viewer to approach and touch.

As a sculptural object, a good pot can bring a room to life, announce an entry point, or create a garden destination.  Its spirit touches those who come into its presence. It’s a joy for me to explore the mysteries of line, volume and movement though my craft, and to be able to share my work with others who enjoy the timeless beauty of this ancient art form.

My mark, the overlapping circles called the vesica piscis, or mandorla, symbolizes the interpenetration of realms — the union of earth and spirit I hope to realize in my work.

Process

I build large pieces in many stages, joining damp sections in a modified version of the coil-and-throw method found in many ancient cultures.  Although I work on a potter’s wheel, my approach is essentially sculptural:  Beginning with a rough idea of scale and mood, the details of form and decoration arise through an improvisational dance that unfolds over a period of days as the piece finds its way to completion.

Many of my pieces are unglazed, but may be coated in a thin layer of slip to achieve different hues. After three to five days of building and a week of drying, I load the vessels into my large kiln, bring them to 2350ºF in a day-long firing, and then allow them to slowly cool for two days.  Each time I open the kiln I have the thrill of seeing how (and if!) they fared through extreme stresses of the transformational process.