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Andrew Lewis-Lechner

As our world becomes increasingly mechanized and digitized, we are progressively divorced from the rhythmic and tactile sensations that once defined nearly every aspect of human experience. For me, ceramics has always been process oriented and as I left the comforts of an institutional studio and began to build my own work space, it occurred to me that while I had thought deeply about the “why” of my work, I had not connected in a meaningful way with a particular firing process or sufficiently explored the “how” of my work.

I came to wood firing relatively recently, but the amazing potential of the experience and process has become a significant motivating factor in my work. These pieces are informed by Japanese folk arts including printmaking, lacquer and wood-work, textiles and of course ceramics of the Mingei movement, the resurgence of wood fired ceramics in the United States, outmoded industrial equipment, insects, geologic and biotic structures, and the nature of linguistic understanding as simultaneously revelatory and ambiguous.

My forms and building methods reflect and exploit the inherent properties of clay in various states. Pieces are frequently thrown and coated with a thick slurry of clay before they are altered, stamped, stretched and incised. Vestigial handles express a tenuous connection to function; while hand-made stamps impose a fragile order on the form. I focus on a minimal number of forms, enhancing and refining them over time so that they may better accept the potential of the fire. My surface treatments tend to focus on the contrast between slip and clay and strive to create a plane in which clay and flame will spontaneously interact. I work to create objects that reflect the concept of Mingei ceramics, (literally translated as “peoples’ art”) while also blurring the line between art and craft- refracting our modern concept of objects with the time when people, not machines, made the objects which populated the world.

My studio is in Tacoma, Washington.

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