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Clay holds a fascination for me due to its remarkable integrity with form and surface as well as its durability and usefulness. It is at once immediate and lasting. It is as accessible and gratifying as it can be frustrating and cumbersome. My work has evolved through various interests in functional wheel thrown pottery, to sculptural works of relatively large scale and to smaller and very personal pieces.

The Basin Series of pieces began as ceramic vessel forms that relate to geographical basins and land formations. The motivation for this series came while visiting Tahoe and Donner Lakes. While walking the Rim Trail I learned that the top 12 feet of Donner Lake has been sold to buyers in the state of Nevada for agricultural purposes such as growing alfalfa hay for feeding cattle. As I visualized the water level of this beautiful basin being allowed to fill and then be lowered at the will of agri-business, I felt dismayed at what could be lost. I realized that there are many wonders that we have already lost, as well, only we are not even aware of them because we have never seen or felt their power.

I would like to think that putting these ideas on the table as ceramic objects in a scale that we can comprehend, will make it possible for people to see what we are doing. It is alarming to me that we are such small beings with such an enormous effect on our surroundings and that we really have no idea of what is really being changed.

I make these pieces without judgment, as neutral illustrations. After all, we are more likely to listen and see if we are not told what or how to think. If you wait long enough, someone will say what you are thinking and it will be that much more meaningful to them and to you.

The Guitar Series addresses guitars as an integral part of the musical culture of so many traditions including my own. These guitars are integrated with traditional Japanese glazes and the natural surfaces and textures of my surroundings on the West Coast. They speak of my heritage as a person and as a Native Californian. They are a manifestation of my experience as a ceramic artist at a time when aesthetic and technical knowledge between the Far East and the West have been exchanged, mingled and synthesized into work that honors its origins.


Copyright 2007. All rights reserved Sylvia Rios.