What’s your why? Why do you create?
I kind of have to. If I wasn't making pottery I would be making my own clothes or making elaborate birthday cakes for my kids or finding some other creative outlet. When I have gone a long time without using my creative energy I feel 'off' or not quite whole and satisfied with life.
With pottery in particular it's also a way of processing something that I have experienced that has moved me. For instance, when I went to Yellowstone National Park and saw geothermal pools for the first time I basically fell madly in love. And as with infatuation, I couldn't stop thinking about those pools. The only way to get them out of my brain was to make something inspired by them so that I could feel like I had a piece of them with me. Once I made enough ceramic geothermal pieces, my soul was satisfied and I was no longer feeling that tension, that compulsion.
Are there creators in your past that have influenced you in a particular way? Who are they? Do you create because of them; for them, as an homage to them?
This is going to sound corny maybe, but Nature is the creator that most influences my work. I see many beautiful pieces of art daily but spending time in a National Park or on a hike provides a jolt of active inspiration that I don't feel when I see the work of other artists. This is not to say that I don't admire my fellow artists and potters, there is an abundance of incredible work out there. I may see a technique that another potter is trying and be inspired to try using that particular tool to express myself, or see a piece of pottery (like the work of Mary O'Malley) and I'm in absolute awe--but I don't want to emulate her work. I just really enjoy seeing what she creates.
So in terms of inspiration, nothing compares to some of the landscapes that have made me feel so wonderfully insignificant, or some of the small details--like lichen on an ancient rock--that compel me to run back to my studio to create.
how does Tucson and the desert inform what you make?
I was born here and have lived most of my life in Tucson, so I'm firmly rooted in the Sonoran Desert, the Southwest and Sonora, Mexico where my Mom is from. My work includes depictions of this landscape and celebrates its plants.
What lessons have your art or your art practice taught you?
Not to fear failure because it's integral to the process of art making and life in general. If something doesn't turn out the way I had hoped, it just means I have to try again but modify the parts that didn't work out so well.
Also, you have to practice quite a bit of humility with pottery making. There are so many points during the making of any given piece when that piece can fail. When it all works out, it's amazing.
Success as an artist is a gift and shouldn't be taken for granted. I have to keep tapping into that part of me that is bringing in fresh ideas, pushing me to evolve and not become too complacent with designs that have sold well in the past.
And finally, my hands/body are my most important tools and those tools will wear down if I am not mindful of how I am using them. This is my most recent lesson. Ergonomics were never on my radar until I injured my wrist.
What are you most proud in your life as an artist or maker?
I feel very fortunate to be able to sell work that I love making to enthusiastic, amazingly sweet customers. It's my dream job. I'm hesitant to call it luck, because that would ignore all the long hours and compromises I have made to get to this point. But I'm proud that I have made it this far.
Finally, where can we see your work?