Ben Rigney - Small Rectangle Tenmoku Salt & Pepper Shakers

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Ben Rigney

Small Rectangle Tenmoku Salt & Pepper Shakers

2.75" H x 1.75" W x 1.75" L


Artist Statement

In Nevada I was introduced to woodfiring and its different
processes. My response after seeing how the flame worked its
way through the kiln led me to thinking about how I could alter
the surfaces of my thrown work so it would interact more
strongly with what I observed in the firings. I had always stayed
away from slip work in college because what I was seeing being
done caused confusion between the surface and the form. But, I
attended a workshop which showed me a different way of
thinking about slip and the results I was seeing led me to the
present body of work.

This application felt more in harmony with the forms I love to
throw, soft and rounded rather than hard-edged geometries. I
have been influenced by hard edges in my other work but for
these pieces a natural flowing surface mimicking the natural
world seems to be best.

I am finding dozens of surface variations that in essence allow
me to carve my work using my fingers in a spontaneous way
which still allows me a measure of control and with certain tools
I achieve a more formalized surface.

The pierced forms date back to ceramics in high school where I
was influenced by a single photo I was shown of Peter Voulkos
work, out of all the photos an image of a hole cut into a vessel
allowing another piece of clay to penetrate that form. That image
struck a chord with me. I was intrigued by the penetration of one
form into or out of another as a foreign intrusion and as an
organic extension, allowing me to add as an attachment erupting
organic appendages or building work with a structural feel
letting me stitch forms together and build spontaneously. The
spears of porcelain I prefer also let me draw points in space and
use that to suggest tension within and relationships to other
forms and the viewers themselves.

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