Artist Statement:

My first goal is to create interesting shapes. Secondly, I extend that shape through cuttings into the surface of the pots forming a partnership between form and the patterns that enhance them. Oxides are often applied and rubbed or sponged from the surface to highlight those patterns. Glazes are also used and shaved from the high areas to enhance the patterns. My carvings have their roots in patterns that I have found and photographed in nature as well as patterns that are attractive to me everywhere. I post those pattern photographs by my carving wheel and use them as springboards in linear development befitting the shape of the vase or sculpture. I abstract from them to create new designs enhancing the one item I’m working with.

I fire primarily with gas in a reduction environment. I also use electric oxidation and occasionally Raku with sealed extreme reduction.

Recently I have been experimenting with “High Vermiculite Clay” packing it into wooden molds in a way similar to producing an adobe brick. With this very thick clay form I can capitalize on the carving  techniques I have applied for years to my pots by cutting much deeper to develop a more architectural dimensional form.

I have messed around with clay for 60 years and, with my dear wife, we have made our living with it for 42 years. I have made about everything with the material that I can think about. Throughout those years I have struggled between form and function or sculptural verses functional. Clay can do both easily.

The “tea pot” form has always been one of great significance for all potters. They seem to be drawn to the teapot challenge like insects to a bright bulb. Teapots require much ability and mark a pinnacle in achievement for the potter’s skill level. They can be ceremonial, everyday functional, sculptural, or a blend of all these things. Making a teapot that functions well embodies physics as well as form. Being constrained by both the potter must walk a fine line to achieve a working but beautiful finished product.

I have made functional teapots but for the “Tea? – Not!” I have chosen to completely set function aside. Just push that off the table and selfishly immerse myself in having fun with form to the exclusion of function. The personality and humor of the teapot form can reign supreme without the mechanical constraints of function.

The “Tea? – Not!” is very simple, a sculpture with teapot subject matter.

Rich Robertson, Plump Spout Tea? - Not!, 2019, stoneware, rubbed iron stain, and PVC handle, 19x14x8.75 inches, collection of Gerri Summerville
Rich Robertson, Full Thorax Tea? - Not!, 2020, stoneware and rubbed iron stain, 11.5x13x6 inches, collection of the artist

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