I suspect most potters and sculptors began by playing in mud when they were children.
My first mud was at our grandparents’ farm outside of Xenia, a tiny town in Southern Illinois where the soil is so rich it sometimes looks black as the bark of a walnut tree. Take a walk on the land and you’ll find Yankee bullets from the War Between the States lodged in tree trunks. Mention this and the stories will begin, all as rich—and sometimes as dark—as the land.
When I visit a special place, instead of collecting shells or taking photographs, I gather soil to mix into my clay. As a result, my work incorporates dirt from Chimayo, Paris, and the family farm in Southern Illinois. Some of that soil—and some of those memories—are in the bowl, Summer in Xenia. How could they not be? Xenia, after all, is in Clay County.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
at right, Frida the Kahlo Fish (and Layne)