I was reading a recent issue of The Surfer’s Journal about ceramic artist Joe Skoby of La Jolla, CA. A California beach boy myself, his words sang to me so I wanted to share them here.
The Great Combine: Surfing & Pottery
From The Surfer’s Journal (December 2016-January 2017): “You’re taking this lump of clay, [Joe Skoby] says, “and it’s spinning and moving and you need to control that spin and movement, and it’s all about curves, like bottom turns and top turns. The clay is wet, and you have a time limit, a beginning and an end, so in a way it’s kind of like riding a wave.” More so because “the final form is unknown until the end of the process, determined by what happens during the ride…on the wheel.”
Oddbowlz is Born
That’s exactly why I call my pottery Oddbowlz. Just like surfing is a dance between a person and the ocean, I see pottery as the union of hands, wheel and clay. With three equal partners, no exact outcome can ever be predicted. Yes, you can measure out the clay. Yes, you can throw the same piece over and over. Yes, you can try to make yourself into a pottery-throwing machine. But the clay and the wheel always have the last laugh. And each piece turns out unique.
A True Odd Bowl
And that’s what an oddbowl is – a truly one-of-a-kind creation. A product of the type and amount of clay used, the day and time (and my mood) when it is thrown, the rotation of the wheel, the temperature of the air while it is drying, the steadiness of my hand as I trim, the whims of the kiln as it fires and then there’s the glazing process. But that kind of is a story in and of itself. For now, I think it’s clear why it is safe to say each piece is unique…too many variables to control! But it is a great way to ride a wave, if only in my head as I sit in my studio looking out at a beautiful Ozark Mountain horizon.