JANUARY 25-FEBRUARY 25TH
REMOTE VESSELS: WOOD FIRED WARES OF AUGUSTE ELDER
“The art of life lies in a constant readjustment to our surroundings.”
-The Book of Tea, Kakuzo Okakura.
In the process of wood-firing pottery, I engage in an accelerated realization, decay, and fossilization of forms through time, temperature, and fire. Sleepless nights and bleary afternoons attending to the conflagration’s insatiable appetite last anywhere from three to seven consecutive days, the kiln’s interior and its contents nearly white-hot towards cycle’s end. Choosing this laborious path over an electric or gas firing is deliberate, for the sinuous dance of fire through and around the wares leaves an indelible language on the vessels themselves. No glazes or slips were applied to any of these pieces. But rather, the dispersion and settling of ash from the fire adheres to and melts onto the glowing pottery, altering the texture, color, and ultimately the form of each ware. Additionally, where the pots sit in relation to the fire and to one another directly affects the deposition and melt. The reduction of oxygen inside the kiln’s chamber towards the end of the firing, too, chromatically shifts the pottery as a kind of last word after all ports have been sealed, and the temperatures slowly slide to ambient levels over the course of a week. And just as these wares adjust and respond to their surroundings in utero, so do we upon their birth from the kiln, heightening our sense of interconnectivity with the world of vessels, clay and mortal alike. My wares, made in anticipation of how, when, and why they will be used in service of decanting or storing is the heartbeat of this oeuvre. And like people, their various forms and functions reveal or belie, or simply exist through a series of speechless readjustments to an ever changing world in what we might call the “art of life.”
All pieces were thrown on the potter’s wheel in Manhattan, NY, and wood-fired upstate at Salem Art Works, Salem, NY, between 2015 and 2017.
SHOP TEA WARE BY AUGUSTE ELDER