Mark ColeLincoln, Nebraska

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I am an advocate of the skillful use of inherent material limitations. Through the use of materials a maker must develop an understanding of their materials’ strengths and weaknesses in order to utilize them brilliantly. This understanding assumes knowledge and acceptance of the inherent imperfectness of these materials and of life itself, that truth comes from the observation of nature, that beauty can be coaxed out of ugliness.
Historical reference provides a record of form, function and material uses through various cultures’ needs and values. Cultures I especially value are the Mimbres of the North American Southwest in the 11th century A.D., the Mycenaen of mainland Greece in 13th century B.C. and the Japanese Mino wares of the late 16th century A.D., all for their ability to exemplify the sophisticated, skillful beauty that is achievable through the mindful use of limited materials.
The work represented here has been designed and created using stoneware clay in conjunction with five glazes, fired in a gas reduction atmosphere. I am using the materials’ unique qualities within organized systems of pattern. By juxtaposing glazes I am able to anticipate and use their eutectic to produce a unique interest with even the most rudimentary of patterns. Stripes, drips and dots divide the form to allow the glazes to exist naturally within an ordered state. When fired, their interaction provides a great visual interest within the context of the pattern, the form and its ultimate functional purpose.
The daily recognition and appreciation of the skillful craftsmanship and care given to handmade pottery is an observation applicable to ones sought life standards. My ceramic work exemplifies attributes of strength, consideration, observation and a rustic sturdiness that is ultimately simple and trustworthy. I believe that great potential lies in the fact that a viewer may respectfully perceive these qualities and recall their existence.