Gustin Ceramics

About the Artist


Gustin Ceramics Tile Production

Sculptural and Studio Ceramics

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Artist's Statement

About the Artist

Studio Pottery

I am interested in pottery that make connections to the human figure. The figurative analogies used to describe pots throughout history all in some way invite touch. The pots that I respond to all speak of a clear, direct sense of the hand. The hand is celebrated in the work by its maker, whether it is that of a fifteenth century rural potter or a nineteenth century court artisan. And it becomes a necessary tool for the user in understanding the relationship of the object to its function, and subsequently, to how that object informs ones life.

Though most of my work only alludes to function, I use the pot context because of its immense possibilities for abstraction. The skin of the clay holds the invisible interior of the vessel. How I manipulate my forms "around" that air, constraining it, enclosing it, or letting it expand and swell, can allow analogy and metaphor to enter into the work.

I want my work to provoke image to the viewer, to suggest something that is just on the other side of consciousness. I don't want my pots to conjure up a singular recollection, but ones that change with each glance, with each change of light. I use surfaces that purposely encourage touch, and by inviting the hand to explore the forms as well as the eye, I hope to provoke numerous memories, recollections that have the potential to change from moment to moment.


Making tile is a way for me to connect to the basics of functional ceramics and to touch the roots of utilitarian clay. My studio work over the years has moved away from an interest in function and utility to an interest in sculptural form. Yet the desire to make things that function in our daily lives still resonates deeply within me. I have found that this "need" is indeed quite strong, and over the years I have occasionally fed it by making simple objects for daily use; the cup, the bowl, the plate.

When my wife and I built our new house, I found another way to work with utility and function, and that was with tile. Tile is the ultimate functional object, made throughout time by cultures all over the world. It can be innocuous, simple and invisible, yet it can also be extremely powerful and visually strong. Tile has the potential to define an architectural space, giving color, pattern and texture to a room, and creating mood and atmosphere to one's home. It is a surface that asks to be felt, both through physical touch and by sight. Tile is meant to be walked on, looked at and, when dirty, scrubbed clean. It is very basic, and consequently, quite powerful. It can be the ultimate decorative element in architecture.

 © Copyright 2000 Chris Gustin