Touch forms the ultimate surface. Pinching a pot is both a way of making and a choice about surface. The pot’s pinched canvas tells a story of exquisite labor. Like handmade paper with a deckled edge, pinched clay holds line and glaze, accepting imperfection, in a motherly embrace. Porcelain meticulously captures the imperfect, repeated impression of every fingerprint, every breath, and echo of its maker.

Pots from my body are for the body. I build soft, full forms. I translate my ideas and emotions into vessels that reveal my unconscious self. The objects are then tangible objects that illustrate the complexity of what it is to be human. I am imperfect, and that is perfect. I want to share that with you.

Life is messy, and I have learned that there is little I can do to control it, but I’ve gotten better at dancing in the mess and seeing it as beauty. My life fell apart a few years ago, and everything on this side of the devastation has been a lesson in resilience and adaptability. My work with the ceramic surface is a meditation on longing and recovery. I have focused on touch as a way of reaching out to others so that they can feel my experiences.

Cambric applies her underglaze to a bisque piece and wipes off the excess. Photo by artist, 2015.As I hover somewhere between waking and sleep, a flood of images pours into the backs of my eyelids. Bright colors throb into view and recede into darkness. Animals, shapes, objects, pass by; I catch only a glimpse, barely recognizing them before they disappear. A body appears, hovers, shifts, and disappears. I breathe in as I sit and let it all unfold, trying to be present and aware without desiring anything to change. It is this liminal place that I am trying to bring onto the skin of a pot. I draw, etch, and glaze with this in mind. I strive for catching some part of the glaze in transformation from the ephemeral to the permanent.

My approach to surface is akin to that of a printmaker or a painter, but also different because I’m working on a three-dimensional form. I want the buildup of layers to mingle with the direct brushstroke and fluidity of an expressionist painter. I begin with drawing and etching into the surface of a greenware pot. It is vulnerable as I hold it in my hand, so I choose carefully how much I want to push into the skin for fear of breaking through the body.

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