small batch pottery by c. e. johnson
I am interested in utilizing locally sourced minerals like marble, shale, basalt stone, and chalk, to create ceramic glazes and clay bodies for pottery. Due to the nature of my researched based practice, I process my own materials by hand and make work in small batches and limited runs. My interest in local materials springs from a love of the beautiful glazes and processes of ancient Asian ceramic tradition. The artists of these traditions utilized the materials they had at hand and mastered the alchemy of the process to create the beautiful works we still revere today. The objects they made capture the history of the age in which they were made, the essence of the place they were made, and the spirit of the maker as few other artworks can.
My practice aims to find a way to do this by using materials I have access to and attempting to use them to the greatest effect to make works unique to this place and time. As I have researched the geology of Alabama, I’ve discovered a unique land with a diverse geological makeup and fascinating materials to use. From the beautiful white marble (some of the purest white marble in the world) mined near Sylacauga, to the fossil bearing shale banks along I-22 near Jasper, to the green basalt rock called “greenstone” near Talladega that was used by Native Americans to make hatchet heads and jewelry, to the chalk bluffs on the Tombigbee River near Epes that were geologically deposited at the same time as the famous White Cliffs of Dover in England.
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