enjoy this moment

About

Since I was a child, I’ve been fascinated by the arts of East Asia. My grandfather grew bamboo in his backyard, and had an elderly Japanese friend who taught us the wonders of kitemaking, origami, brushwork—all inspired by the sharing of Pop’s bamboo. My family is deeply rooted in the North Carolina craft tradition – my dad was a talented carver, my sister and mom gifted in fiber arts, my uncle John a restoration carver for the Smithsonian and a famous instrument maker, my great-grandfather a builder of classic North Carolina furniture.  Although I still enjoy East Asian brushwork, I’m the family member attracted to mud, most particularly in exploring the tremendous strength of the wood-fire pottery traditions of Japan.

The interplay of iron-bearing clay body, shino glaze and fire is a constant source of natural beauty to my eyes. I have long appreciated the work of the potters of the ancient kiln sites of Japan. The granular elements of classic Shigaraki clay appeal to me and speak to me of ancient life.  With my master teacher Dan Finch, I have developed—using the resources of North Carolina’s ancient coastal plain—a Shigaraki-style clay body which I call Coastal Carolina Shigaraki to honor the granular texture and warm color of the natural clays of both Lake Biwa and North Carolina.

My work includes traditional woodfire, but my other techniques seek to accomplish the complex richness of long-term Japanese woodfire with far less environmental impact using different methods. Some of my cone ten work, using Dan Finch’s “Toisnot Process” is very difficult to distinguish from traditional woodfire. I love shino, and am interested in how brushwork and classical japanese glazes interplay. I am glad to be exploring techniques which carry such deep complexity and organic beauty without the environmental burden of prolonged woodfire. I thank you for your interest in this work, and hope you find delight and depth in it.

Matthew Stockard

ancientearthpottery@gmail.com

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