Makers Monday Feature: Mark Budd
We have a firm belief in creativity (maybe you've noticed). And as such we have decided to showcase local artists on Monday's!
Share with the creative community who you are.
I am a potter and I recently graduated with a BFA in ceramics from the University of Regina. While I have always sought some sort of creative outlet (drawing, music), my formal art education was initially focused on distinctly non-traditional art forms, such as installation and sound art. In fact, I had always considered pottery to be art for "old people". Naturally, when I returned to school in my mid thirties, I took a pottery class and was hooked immediately.
What do you create?
Today, I use clay to make rustic functional ware intended for everyday use. Most of my work is fired in a wood or soda kiln. Both of these firing methods exploit the dynamic interaction between clay, glaze and kiln atmosphere.
What materials do you use to create?
During a wood firing (where wood is the primary fuel source) the ashes from the burnt wood travel through the kiln and settle on the ware. These ashes, which contain trace minerals unique to the tree and the place that it grew, melt at extreme temperatures to form a natural glaze. During a soda firing, a saline solution is sprayed into the kiln at peak temperature. This solution reacts with minerals within the clays to form a glaze. These volatile atmospheric conditions tend to produce rich and complex surfaces which are often reminiscent of natural phenomena. I like to think of soda fired surfaces as a general reference to the sea and sea life and to wood fired surfaces as a reference to land and rock.
How much time do you spend on your art practice? Is it enough?
With a little one at home (and another on the way!) I have been finding it hard to devote enough time to the studio. As a process-oriented art form, pottery can be notoriously time consuming. If I am preparing for a firing, I can easily spend upwards of 20-25 hours per week at the studio, but most weeks I am lucky to be able to put in 10-15 hours. I do wish I had more time to devote to pottery, but I also know that this time with my kids is so precious. Eventually, I would love to have a studio, kilns and a gallery space at my home.
Do you have a philosophy?
If I have a philosophy, it can be summed up in this story: A potter I admire was visiting our studio and giving critiques of student work. When my turn came, I showed him new work (fresh off the wheel) that I was quite proud of. He gave some great feedback and suggested some new avenues of research that needed up proving extremely helpful. Then, at the end of our time together, he stuck his finger right through one of my new cups! I was shocked, but also recognized that he had wrecked my cup (without a trace of malice) to remind me that the practice is more important than the object. Do not get too attached to the object, continue to improve your skill and make it better the next time. Learn how to make something and then make it again.
What does creative joy mean to you?
I am consistently fascinated by these processes, and constantly striving to duplicate exciting results while searching for new surfaces through experimentation with materials. I also love the way that the kiln becomes an active participant in the firing process. I work with clay because it makes me happy. It is a process that rewards curiosity and experimentation. I love using objects of rare beauty for everyday domestic rituals like drinking coffee and eating toast. I love being able to work with my hands to stimulate my mind and my heart.