Sherry Wells

Clay is a primal, living material; I have chosen it because it gives me a sense of connectedness, I get a similar feeling when working with the soil when gardening. Each piece of pottery is made from porcelain or white stoneware, individually thrown on a potter’s wheel, then altered and/or hand built to complete. I have found joy and inspiration in my studio working with this earthy substance, throwing and altering shapes. My forms continuously change and progress, grown from the previous form. This brings new shapes and new challenges. Line and form drive my making, I strive for a sense of flow or movement in my pieces; I gently curve, fold and cut the clay to enhance a feeling of movement. I am inspired by forms in the natural world, and the natural curve of motion, such as water or air, as it moves around obstacles.
I make wheel thrown and altered dining, serving and decorative ware from porcelain and white stoneware. I seek to enhance the experience everyday dining rituals, using Art that is touched, used, and enjoyed daily. I believe Art enhances life, giving elegance to everyday life. Making a connection with the maker when holding a handmade piece; taking in a moment to take in the shape, texture and feeling of the piece, with the knowledge it was make by human hands.
My work is fired to approx. 2360 degrees F. in a reduction atmosphere. Reduction firing involves a very direct process and demands being in the present, using eyes, ears and smells to fire. I currently fire in wood and gas (propane) kilns, liking high fire due to its ability to melt and move the glazes, furthering a sense of movement. I utilize wood kilns when I can, desiring the visual marks of the flame as it flows over the ware adding even more sense of movement to the piece.
Firing with wood is far more than just a process to heat pots and melt glazes, it is very labor intensive, much more than with propane. Wood firing is an arduous process that requires continuous direct personal involvement of stocking continuously 24 hours a day for 4 to 5 days. It is gratifying to smell the fresh wood burning, hear the crackle of the fire, working hard to create the desired outcome. The porcelain and white stoneware pieces have an unpredictable spontaneous natural beauty revealed through this firing process showing the signature of the flame as it crosses and interacts with each piece in the kiln.

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