Mathew Stafford

The most honest claim that I can make is that I am addicted to the process of art, and particularly, to working with clay. It is mostly a sort of tactical and physical need; the wedging and throwing and pushing and pulling and trimming and even glazing. Then there is the tension and excitement of opening the kiln and finding out if it is Christmas or Halloween, dazzle or heartbreak. I love to paint too; but at least this year, it doesn’t hold the same sensual satisfaction for me.

Themes that have emerged in the past few years are full of holes, circles, ripples and the optical wonder in ever-elusive crystalline glazing. Crystalline glazing is a tricky and difficult process where crystals are literally grown in the kiln. Subtle changes in temperature, applied thickness, age of the kiln elements, porcelain substrate and seemingly, the orientation of planets, have effects on the glaze that run the gamut from dazzling to disastrous. It involves endless experiments and good record keeping. Fortunately, I love to experiment, enjoy chemistry, and live for the pieces in which the form and the glaze are perfectly wed.

In addition to unique “art” pieces, I also enjoy making dishes and other functional work that will enhance a meal, a party, a life; work that is handled and used to break bread with family and friends. It is satisfying to feel a part of that process, a part of the daily life of friends and strangers.