Process

The natural world is often the source for my work, but the inspiration goes beyond simply translating this visual world. My technique is inspired by and akin to an actual physical process within the natural world which leads to fossils. The latin “fossus” translates “having been dug up,” and I similarly excavate my clay works from sediment. A fossil is the trace of the remains of some organic body, creature or plant, within sediment. I likewise create trace carvings in the sediment or silt. I build form via the aegis of negative space. A reductive approach, an intricate cavity is dug in the silt which ultimately acts as a dissolvable one-off mold. The material I use to cast into is silt, a very fine sediment created as a result of alluvial action. It is basically comprised of about 70% fine sand and 30% clay. The sand can be thought of as very tiny building blocks and the clay in the mix acts as a mortar to bind the particles together when wet. The porosity of the silt mold allows the basic mechanics of slip casting to operate; the water in the liquid clay migrates into the mold leaving behind slightly more solidified layer of clay at the surface.

This layer becomes thicker as the mold remains filled. Once the desired thickness is achieved, the remaining slip is removed leaving behind a clay shell. As the clay dries and reaches a leather hard state, it can be excavated from the crumbling and dissolving silt mold. This casting technique sacrifices the advantages of multiple castings in favor of rich encrusted and serendipitous surfaces that can be carved directly without concern for undercuts and seams. This is a studio mold and casting technique that approaches the immediacy of drawing rather than the precise methodical planning often associated with mold making.

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