ClayOH Ceramics - Thomas Harris

I am a ceramic artist living on 20 wooded acres near Bloomington, Indiana. I do both functional and non-functional work. I use the wheel, handbuilding and slip casting in the creation of my work.

I received a BFA in Ceramics from Northern Arizona University, and a Masters from the University of Arizona . I currently have a ceramic studio in Bloomington, IN. I travel to numerous Art Fairs each year and show work in numberous galleries around the country.

Functional: I look for the unique in utilitarian forms, often mis-shaping the form after having thrown it. Each form is decorated with a particular type of surface treatment, frequently zoomorphic in nature. Much of the surface decoration is done using masking; (covering areas with images or patterns cut out of adhesive vinyl), and often double-masking (covering areas with a mask, then over-painting with a liquid mask such as wax resist and removing the initial mask). This allows for more complex, intricate designs as well layering. After lengthy trial and error, I moved from doing the masks by hand to using a computer, creating and manipulating designs in Photoshop. These designs are made into a mask using a cutting plotter (imagine a printer that cuts instead of prints designs), which is then adhered to the ceramic vessel.

I also employ hydro-abrasion, a process of wiping away clay with a wet sponge to embed a design into the unfired clay. The relief created by hydro-abrasion is often highlighted with underglazing. I make extensive use of slips, underglazes and cone-6 glazes to finish my work, mainly spraying them on the surface. Some pieces are fired multiple times to achieve the desired effect. I currently like to employ a color palate that combines organic ash-based glazes on the exterior with brightly colored translucent glazes to cover the decorations.

Sculpture: My handbuilt sculptures are zoomorphic in nature, often anthropomorphic, with human characteristics given to animal or hybrid-animal forms. I like to play with concepts of mutation,genetic modification and errors in evolution as themes.

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