Daniel GarretsonMashpee, Massachusetts

Red Lodge Clay Center Long-Term Resident 2010-11

Daniel Garretson completed his Bachelor of Art in philosophy and history at the University of Wollongong, Australia, thereby developing an interest in Asian philosophy and culture. Enamored with the Japanese tea ceremony utensils, an interest in pottery developed.  Daniel returned to the United States where he had spent his youth to undertake a three-year apprenticeship with Mark Shapiro.  Upon completion, Daniel worked with several potters for shorter periods of time before traveling to Montana for a year-long residency at the Red Lodge Clay Center.  Daniel subsequently earned his Master of Fine Art from the School of Art and Design at Alfred University in New York.  Upon completion, Daniel returned to his native Australia and establishing the Broken Rock Workshop on the coastal fringes of southern New South Wales.

The intersection between ideas and experiences continually informs my life and work. Conversations regarding the significance of handmade pottery in contemporary society are both useful and beneficial, though a thoroughly different activity than actually using pots in one’s life. In other words, a map is different from the terrain it symbolizes. I consider myself both cartographer and explorer. While outside the studio, reflecting on concepts and techniques pushes my work in new directions. Inside the studio I respond directly to materials and processes, thereby developing sensitivity to their inherent qualities.

To intimately experience life is the wellspring of a meaningful existence. We all must eat and drink, though the way we approach these activities matters. For me it is the everyday details of life that hold the most significance, so mindfulness of the processes by which my pots are created is important. Subtleties of touch and gesture form the foundation of my work. Throughout the making process I like to keep things simple – taking things as they come and accepting them for what they are. I am not interested in making beautiful pots, unique pots, or important pots – these judgments I find best left to others. I am focused instead on openly accepting the process of making, thereby allowing this process to express its nature with a sense of ease and spontaneously.

I am not trying to communicate a concept, nor highlight a particular technique. Concepts, techniques, and even the objects themselves are secondary to the experiences they afford. It is the experience of drinking warm coffee from a cherished mug or sharing a meal with friends and family using sturdy plates that invigorates my work. I see myself as a toolmaker, creating tools for the art of living. I do not want my work to stand apart – an object to be perceived. Rather, it is my hope that these pots will be seamlessly integrated into the flow of life, conversing with their users in an intimate way.