about

Specter: Wheat 1I am a sculptor and functional potter. My sculptural work explores our cultural and personal disaffection from the nature within and without us, and considers the consequences of this disassociation.

My functional work digs deep into ceramic traditions to push on our conventional ideas of what makes a pot good to use and good to live with. In particular I revive the pre-Industrial Revolution penchant to have nature sources inform the shapes, heft and surfaces of my pottery, a phenomenon found in cultures around the globe and across the span of human culture. With function as my subject I ask questions in clay about who we are, what wakes us up, what elevates us, what restores us, what opens us up to the living world around us.

My sources include ancient Near Eastern pots, ripe fruit and unfurling buds, mackerel clouds and Coptic silverwork, old biology textbooks and the exciting clay work being made by my contemporaries. Some of my living very strong influences include Walter Hyleck, Silvie Granatelli, Michael Simon, Walter Ostrom, Jenny Lou Sherburne, Joan Bruneau, Lisa Naples and Chris Garofalo.

My work has been shown across the U.S., including Craft Alliance, Lill Street Gallery, Appalachian Center for Craft and the National Craft Showroom (now closed), and it has also been taken home and put to good use across the country for thirty years.

I am equally invested in teaching. I’ve taught ceramics at Columbia College and Lill Street Studios in Chicago, and at Watkins College of Art and Design and Vanderbilt University in Nashville as part of their community art programs.

In addition to an apprenticeship and undergrad degree from Berea College, I have studied pottery at University of Minnesota – Minneapolis, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Peters Valley Craft Center and Shakerag.

In a parallel universe I have also been an active part of Chicago’s alt.country scene, recording and touring with the Texas Rubies, the Wichita Shut-Ins and under my own name. I am currently artist in residence at Sarratt Art Studios at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. I’m a founding member of the new acoustic roots trio Devil Bell.