Growing up in Indianapolis, my favorite activities were those that used my hands: studying piano, playing tennis and making things. I made all sorts of things, but remember most the small Lego villages, and the make-believe buildings I would sketch and then construct out of balsa wood or paper mache. These interests, along with my favorite school subjects of math and science, led me to major in architecture at Princeton University, and then to earn a master’s degree in Finance from New York University. The Princeton program focused on the history and theory of architecture through the ages, and introduced architectural traditions and principles, such as function, structural integrity, context, proportion, beauty and harmony. And examining the design methodology of modern architectural luminaries, like Gropius, Le Corbusier and Wright, brought forth a multitude of ideas.
Through these studies of architectural traditions and ideologies, my own design philosophy and aesthetic was shaped. Balance, symmetry and attention to form became my primary themes, always mindful that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Projects were illustrated in detail - elevations, plans, perspectives, isometric views - but I felt most gratified when re-creating the structures in elaborate three-dimensional models. And when I photographed buildings, my eye was continually drawn to architectural elements - columns, flying buttresses, classical window pediments - repeated in succession. This foundation, along with the quantitative skills developed during my graduate studies, are combined in my ceramics: to create intricate hand-built structures, to focus on form and shape, and to use a systematic approach when assembling many different parts.
My primary inspiration - the use of repeating elements - is intrinsic to each design, often recalling patterns found in nature or man-made structures. Round and conical ceramic “pods” might evoke organic life: sea creatures, corals, cacti. Spiraling shapes with scalloped fins and cylindrical shapes with hundreds of blocks might recall architectural structures: a colonnade of arches or rustication of an Italian palazzo. In some ceramic objects, a silhouette is achieved from the simple line of an arc, repeated multiple times around the vessel. And in others, different shapes with geometric sequences create undulating rhythms.
For each object, I illustrate the design to determine the various parts, and liken making them to building an architectural model, except in a new medium - clay. My process, whereby 20 fins are attached to an orb thrown on the wheel, or 600 blocks are stacked around a cylinder, embody the concept of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. In the case of pods, the fins by themselves are unimportant. But when repeated several times around a bulbous core and gathering at its apex to a small opening, a unique object is created that can convey different effect - one pod might grow outward and thus feel more organic, like a sea urchin, while another might grow tall and feel more architectural, like a Gothic pointed rib vault. But inherent to each design is the use of repeating elements and the concept that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The end result is the intersection of mathematical precision and organic expression, whereby I transform a block of clay into an object of art, and beauty arises.
form n. The shape and structure of something. v. 1. To give form to : SHAPE. 2. To shape or mold into a given form. 3. To become formed or shaped. 4. To come into being : ARISE.