I keep wondering when I'm gonna get sick of clay.....?....!
...hasn't happened yet anyways!
I've kept my hands muddy with clay since the year 2000.
My brain is muddy, I'm all over the place; I've gotta great wife.
Music is life, and dogs.
I love to doodle....I love everything!
....hey! Look at those flowers!.....
My experience with ceramics started as a freshman at Eastern Illinois University. In passing, a friend took me to a local artist’s home for a visit. While visiting in this friend-of-a-friend’s kitchen, we were served grapes in a ceramic bowl. It was at this intersection that I discovered the world of ceramics. The bowl that was presented caught my eye and when I inquired, I discovered I was at the house of a local potter. With the plan of leaving Eastern at the year’s end, and with thoughts of ceramics floating about, I enrolled in a ceramics class at Eastern. Needless to say, this changed my life’s path, and I did not leave EIU at the end of that year. Instead, I continued my art education until I graduated from Eastern in 2003, and I have been consumed with ceramics ever since. My time at Eastern ranged from learning basic fundamentals to experimenting on my own with different processes and techniques.
From Eastern, I went on to teach ceramics for a summer at a camp in Pennsylvania. At the end of that summer, I returned to Illinois to begin an apprenticeship with Michael Schwegmann. With Schwegmann, I learned a great deal about refining the craft, living as an artist, how a studio functions best, and even a bit about business tactics.
From there, I began working towards the creation of my own business, now McCabe Clay. I also completed my Master’s in Art Education at Saint Xavier University in Chicago. After student teaching, I was lucky enough to land an amazing job teaching art in District 230, currently at Sandburg High School in Orland Park, IL. This is where I maintain full time employment.
Between the opportunity to educate young students about the ceramic process, and the time spent in my home studio, my roots in clay grow deeper every day.
As a maker of functional pottery I have many goals for myself. The foremost, however, is production. In order to reach any of my other goals, my hands have to be in clay as often as possible, making as much as I can, in order to continuously improve. As a potter, one has to be in a constant mode of critique- questioning design, purpose, and craftsmanship. The evolution and progression of the individual potter’s pieces can be a dramatic and heavy experience. This is just another part of the field of ceramics that I love- the fact that there are countless directions to move in and plenty of room to grow. Ultimately, my purpose is to develop into a unique and expressive artist through the medium of clay.
It has been my experience that through the continuous work-development-evaluation cycle, artists gain a more intimate insight into the people they are and the things they are capable of achieving. An awareness of personal identity seems to be something that is blurred often, but is always rediscovered. Through the arts, this experience seems to be largely enhanced through the production and development of works. It is this experience that has truly captured me. Some people are consumed by carpentry or music or architecture; I guess my fascination is with clay.
The forms and colors present throughout my work show my love for classical design as well as the personal oddity of each pot. My hope for these vessels is that they may speak out to the viewer and stimulate the desire to touch the work and establish a relationship with it; from my hands to yours. I hope the thoughts that go into my work, through line, form, and color, paint a similar idea for the viewer. Or, as in many cases, a whole new series of thoughts can be developed. I hope my pottery expresses a sense of homeliness yet excitement, quietness yet confidence, and duration yet vigor. Like a good home, pottery expresses warmth, comfort, and spirit.