My ceramic vessels are informed by my interest in and love for the natural world and an interest in the aesthetics of the Japanese tea ceremony. My work endeavors to synthesize this aesthetic with Western techniques and materials.
Some of my earliest memories are of swimming around in the tide pools near Hilo, Hawaii, and playing under the tree ferns near Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. This was the beginning of my interest in and love for the natural world. My grandfather, though untrained, created beautiful bonsai and built the Japanese-inspired gardens surrounding his home. That had a great influence on my developing sense of aesthetics.
In 1969, I enrolled at the University of Puget Sound (UPS) with the intention of studying Biology. As a junior, I took my first ceramics class and was obsessed. While I finished with a degree in Biology, all my attention was now on ceramics.
At UPS, I was influenced by my teachers, F. Carlton Ball and Kenneth D. Stevens, and visiting artist Frederick L. Olsen. Carlton’s enthusiasm for clay got me into ceramics. From Fred, I learned many of the techniques I use today. Ken’s work was what I aspired to. I created work using clay and glazes like Ken, but more importantly, he taught me careful craftsmanship and attention to detail.
Over the years, my interest in the traditional Japanese arts has grown. At first, my interest was in plants and gardens. This quite easily transitioned to an interest in Ikebana (flower arranging) and then to Chado (the Japanese tea ceremony) and its influence on pottery. As I’ve learned more about the tea ceremony, I've come to know how central that aesthetic is to Japanese art. While my work has changed several times during my career, this aesthetic is the underlying foundation of it all.