We are graced with senses which allow us to grow, develop, and feel through a variety of sensations. How have we managed to navigate this enormous terrain of land and sea if not for these inherent gifts. Our evolution as a species, as a culture, as living beings could not exist without. Even still, the vastness of just…being, has to be tethered to the earth, to feel our feet firmly planted on the ground and the weight of gravity, constant.
Our hunter and gatherer ancestors taught us well, and we learned to use fire, build homes, and cities, and eventually weapons and technologies that quickly destroy what took thousands, millions, billions of years to build. This is our evolutionary cycle. All things in life have an inescapable destiny. Things go back to their original form, materials will break down, as ocean tides return sand back to the earth as a peaceful offering. We are material.
There is beauty in the cracks of city streets, the slumped umbrellas littering the urban scape in resignation, the everyday deterioration. Coffee cups start to absorb and melt as soon as liquid enters, unable to hide from the fact that it is only paper. Leather loves friction, as it ages to adulthood, and then soon starts to crack and become threadbare. The materials in our lives are beautiful, abundant, and are often excessive.
Recently I returned to clay as a medium. Clay has a distinctive feel, smell, and awkwardness about it. It holds contempt of being tamed yet can be beautiful and fluid when mixed with water, and hardened by fire. The smell beckons familiarity, an honestly, unable to hide behind what it is not. It is sensory, and seductive. The challenge was to let go of control, and let the material speak for itself. At any given moment it could break from being too dry, or wet, thin, heavy, or just because it felt like it. We are not the masters of materials as we would like to believe.
There is something to be said about material honesty, an old and still relevant topic of discussion, in the modern age. Do we want the appearance of an object to be something that it is not? And how far can you tip the scale between authenticity and fake? In this material world, we amass, consume, digest, and throw away. If we’re lucky, we don’t become hoarders, who assign inappropriate value to material goods. I want the opposite of that.
As I look around the spaces in which we occupy, a consideration was made for every part of its existence. I look at my home, and I consistently wonder about what these placeholders represent in my life. When I think about the value, I can’t help but thing about it in regards to the things that clutter our homes, and how many hours of work had to be done in order to have that thing. That is how my brain works, as I equate possible purchases to the number of hours I’d have to work, and does that see worth it.
I am continuing on my journey towards material exploration and discovery, trying to find the beauty in honest material expression through form. I rediscovered my love for clay, I’ve started a wood sample library in my studio, cement is a real bitch to work with, and leather does actually turn me on.