I am drawn to thrown ceramics in part because of the movement it requires, both in the movement of the wheel and the involvement of my body in the process of making. I am also drawn to the ancient nature of the process; humans have been making this way on a spinning wheel for thousands of years. But the modern western attachment to electricity has meant that the process of making wheel-thrown work, though once necessary to human life, is often confined to an indoor studio, privatized and rendered obsolete. In an effort to liberate the potter’s wheel, I mobilized it by making a simple kick wheel, traveling with it as an “itinerant” potter. The focus is on the tool used for making rather than the objects made. In fact, the pots I make in Itinerant are not finished or fired, but left behind at the site of making. They are clumsy, reflecting the handmade nature of the wheel as well as the pot.
By taking the wheel around town, I investigate viewers’ perceptions in different contexts; while making this way may be a political statement critiquing the mass-produced in the Target parking lot, the kick wheel in a park environment may be perceived as a teaching demonstration or sales tactic. In other contexts, like in a back alleyway, the viewers I encounter may only see the work from a car window. These investigations are made possible because of the wheel’s mobility, making the wheel and the encounters it facilitates the real center of the work. The unfired clay pots left behind, though not functional, mark a unique but historically universal event that happened there.