Eric Botbyl ~ Artist Statement
There is a softness and warmth about the ceramic vessel that
carries with it every touch of the potter and mark of the flame. Clay is
unique in its ability to record the history of its own making, and the preservation
of this process is a vital element of my work. Much of my
work is inspired by the idea of “entasis,” an architectural design technique
used by the ancient Egyptians and Greeks ... The term, simply
translated, means “swollen” or “stretched thin.” While my application is a bit
more fluid and organic than the idea presented in historical
context, it is at the root of everything I hope my life and work to be.
I am influenced by everything from my wife’s pregnant figure to the textured
crop lines of rural western Tennessee. Oranges, eyes, barn
wood, baby fat, balloon animals, and pine cones are a constant investigation points.
I am intrigued by the idea of life swelling from within,
seeds breaking through the earth’s surface, and the force of gravity
which perpetually plays against them.
Beyond inspiration and influence, I love the sheer physicality of working
with clay. There is heavy lifting, grunting, cutting,
wedging, sweating, centering, hollowing, pushing and pulling... action, art,
muscle, mind and craftsmanship... curiosity, exploration,
influence, risk, music, spirit and flesh... smoothing, scratching, scraping, bending,
folding, denting... texture, color, pattern, design and
decision... history, memory, chemistry, alchemy and serendipity. There are blacks,
reds, oranges, yellows and whites... smoke, grit, gloss,
sweat, hunger, humor, caffeine, work and rest. There is anticipation, fellowship,
congratulations, disappointment and surprise.
The challenge remains for me to create vessels that continuously speak to these elements and beyond.