Saturday, September 6, 2008

Connecting The Dots...With Mary Anne Davis

Marianne Davis is another one of my "finds" while searching the blogosphere. Hers was one of the first blogs that I linked here. She is an inspirational human being doing her part, giving back, leaving her mark and doing her best to lower her footprint. One of her projects that is a favorite of mine is called the Seed Vase Project , she describes it as "A global scatter sculpture which creates links between owners. Participation means you are a patron of the arts and are connected to everyone else who owns a numbered Seed vase". Mary Ann also has a successfull line of dinner ware that she produces from her studio in upstate New York.
Why clay?
Clay can do almost anything. It is completely open to suggestion. It had an appeal for me from the time I was 5 years old sun drying mud pies and trying to sell them.
What gets you in the mood?
Do you listen to music when you work? I usually listen to books on tape. I particularly like thrillers. Got any authors you recommend?
What motivates and inspires you? My 13 year old son, aboriginal art, sustainable farming, color, hunger. Oh, and climate change and poverty.
Who are your favorite artists and why? Giorgio Morandi, because his work is exquisite and he lived a very low key life, Marcel Duchamp because he changed everything, Joseph Beuys because he helped me understand that all society is a sculpture and we are all co-creating it. Many, many others, but that would require much time. :)
What's your favorite cuss word?
What is your favorite pleasure?
See above
What would you say to someone just getting started in ceramics who asks you for advice? Be sure this is what you really want to do. It is a long, slow journey and requires the commitment of a lifetime. That said, it is without parallel
What is your feeling on the artist as activist, Artivism? And the "handmade" movement? It's the best. Art changes all - always has and always will. The artist is trained or learns to look at things upside down, inside out, differently than the status quo. Seismic shifts are possible with the mind of an artist on hand. The handmade movement is essential for the future of humanity. Gandhi led India to independence from the British with the handmade movement (Swadeshi) in India. Here it means taking back our economy, our dignity and restoring soul to the community and the earth from the behemoth industrial dinosaurs.
How did your line of dinnerware come about?
I was making some lame plates and bowls after a 6 year clay hiatus (I focused on painting and sculpture) when a couple of friends of mine from Philadelphia came to visit, Eric Rymshaw and James Fulton of Fury Design and they helped me pull together the first silhouettes. It was like magic after that.
What cone do you fire to? 5
What's your favorite quote?
"Work hard. Keep at it. Live simply and quietly. Remain humble. Stay positive. Be nice. Be polite." Hugh MacLeod
Some would argue that because of the things we in our work that it isn't eco-friendly, can a potter be green? I can talk at length about this.
Ok, maybe its better that I do a separate post at a later time on your views on "Eco-Pottery".
From what I have read Mary Ann works to make a difference in her surroundings, in our surroundings and I will be sharing some of what she does soon so check back. Thank you Mary Ann, keep up the good work!


Mary Anne Davis said...

Thanks for this, Chris! Just a couple of things on eco-pottery, since a little is better than waiting. Potters tend to make small amounts of ware compared to Giant factories, often thoughtfully made to order. Inventories are kept small, again relative to larger industrial models. Kiln firing is done when the ware is ready, unlike the industrial where the kilns are kept at 2000*F+ 24/7. A lot of natural gas. Clay and glazes are all organic and mineral based. Lead is no longer used in ware that functions. Anyway, these are a few things which all potters share as part of their process.

In addition, I purchase my carbon offsets which reduces my footprint and I am careful about my packing materials to use reclaimed, recycled and biodegradable boxes and filler. Keeping the studio clean and environmentally friendly also contributes to a cleaner footprint.

Hope that helps! :)

Patricia Griffin said...

Hi! I found your blog from a link on Mary Anne's. Great interview with her! Am a potter with a studio-gallery in Cambria, CA, and will add you to my blog roll.