Artist's Statement

Metal and clay, gifts from the earth! I enjoy exploring and shaping both media.

Clay is soft and forgiving. I prefer ancient techniques: creating a vessel from coils, burnishing the surface instead of glazing, and pitfiring. Each of these steps in my process allows me to get to know each vessel intimately. When I begin a piece I have no idea what its shape will be. I let the coils search out the final silhouette. And because it is coiled, the shape is not perfect. During the burnishing I get to know the slight variations in the surface of each piece, variations that give it personality. And when that vessel emerges from the ashes of the pitfire, its true spirit is visible! All these experiences make the long process fulfilling.

Metal has so many different personalities leading to an infinite number of possibilities. Cutting, bending, pounding, scoring, welding. I work in metal like putting together a jigsaw puzzle: what surprising pieces/shapes work together to create the overall image. Recycling farm implements, car and motorcycle parts, and any scrap metal I run across is a favorite way of starting a sculpture. I often come home from hikes with metal in my daypack! I have also become interested in whirlygigs, wind powered sculpture. These also incorporate the recycled parts, giving them whimsical appearances.
-Michelle Geiss