Gail Kendall

My ceramic works are influenced by European earthenware pottery and porcelain traditions from the 13th through the 18th centuries. Both “peasant” and “palace” pots inspire me. In the former it is the casual, perhaps careless result that excites me: the drip of glaze, the impurities in the clay, the globs of kiln-shelf refuse fused to the bottom. These imperfections often enliven the pot in ways that take my breath away. In the latter, the elaborate rendering of form and surface common to porcelain factories such as Sevres and Spode, fuels my imagination. Early English slipware, Delftware, and Italian maiolica are sources I refer to often. I am attached to terracotta and low-fired technologies as symbols of my heritage. I like to imagine a potter ancestor in Luxembourg or Wiltshire pouring slip on his earthenware platter, decorating it with the details of some local or family event, sprinkling on lead oxide, then firing it in the most simple manner. He was an essential member of his community, whereas I am at home in the art world. But my ancestor and I are alike in our interest in enlivening the daily aspects of life: mundane routines and community celebrations. Like him, I hope the plates, platters, bowls and other service pieces I make enhance those routines and rituals and that they add a touch of grace to the domestic arena.