Yet another process I’ve been trying to wrap my head around this year is where to settle on creating entirely unique, one-off handmade objects, or trying to produce things in limited quantities with subtle variations. Coming back around to ceramics, stencil cut images are something I’ve gotten into over the last two years for making multiples. The images started out on our New Years cards (we don’t do Christmas), and subsequently found their way onto hand-thrown wedding platters for friends and family. Then I got to thinking; what else can I apply these images to? While not having been much of a graffiti-writer my day, I do appreciate the street-art crossover with sprayed stencil art, which has lots of social justice associations worth investigating.

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Mushrooms decompose and bees pollinate; attempts at capturing life processes.

I admit that a part of my interest in these easy to reproduce multiples exists in the potential to apply them to schwag on print-on-demand platforms like Printful . I kind of think it would be swell to offer a variety of artful, everyday things that bear marks and patterns borrowing from my work, but that don’t require so much investment in time. I clearly need to come up with a strategy for what to spend the most energy on, what to parse out to hired hands and what to create an automated system for. All of these moving parts can and should work together, I won’t survive long as an artist if I can’t come to some kind of compromise that embraces at least a little of the technology that is changing how art is made. Nikki McClure manages to do this beautifully with her gorgeous organic paper cuts.

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A nest represents home, safety, family, warmth. We can all relate to the nesting instinct.

To be clear, I’m not out to make a commodity, I’m out to create some kind of social feedback loop through the use of coded images. This already happens to you thousands of times a day, it’s called advertising. You are influenced by the signs and symbols that you interact with the most, I just want to shake it up by opening the door for some ambiguity in how we think of ourselves and the environment. I’m not interested in telling you what to believe, but in leveraging the cracks in between all the pieces. If these fissures can be widened just a little, maybe there’s a chance for productive dialogue across the aisle, in the space that exists outside of linear arguments.

Evoking the in-between is a subtle, fleeting magic. Something that arises spontaneously and from the heart. It has the power to unite warring ideologues, it allows for the shedding of small views, and reveals a third way. I am not a great change agent, I’m just a poet who also happens to work in wood, metal and clay. I have lofty ideas, with no guarantee of success, but in trying, I hope to see flecks of truth sparkle from within the fruits of my labors. Stencil art can be powerful, if the right combination of symbols are employed. I think there is good material here, it’s just striking the right balance between substance and fluff, as with most things.

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