Daniel Gardner Ceramics

Artist's Statement

My work explores abstract relationships between the human body and pots. Through functional vessels, I celebrate the sympathy that people express when they describe a pot’s foot, belly, neck, or lip.

This visceral sympathy is both instinctual and ubiquitous. Children roll “snake” coils and mime teapots. Cultures the world over create effigy vessels and speak of gods making people out of clay. Almost thirty thousand years ago, the oldest known ceramic piece was fired, depicting a corpulent, earthbound woman. Her ample form strikes me as an inevitable response to fleshy clay.

The more a person works with clay, the more this sensual resonance develops into a relationship. A potter’s hands learn nuances of pressure, curve, speed and resistance that don’t translate into words. Rather than exercising these skills toward simple geometry, I practice intuitive, gestural motion. I hope that this aesthetic invites touch, grip and use while evoking the freshness of wet clay.

Some of my most recent work explores contrast within sets, combining thick, hard-edged, unglazed pieces with softer glazed forms. Aesthetically speaking, the unglazed pieces often present the glazed forms, giving them a sense of context and place; while the glazed work lends subject matter and focus. Surfaces that vary in-the-round, considered proportional relationships, and a gestural treatment of the clay support a dialogue between the pieces in each set. When the work succeeds, the pieces inform each other through a sense of counterpoint.