Barbara Tocher - Ceramics and Candles
My story began when I visited my mother's ceramics class when I was a teenager. The teacher put me in front of a potter's wheel and gave me instructions for centering the piece of clay. The clay pushed my hands and arms and upper body around, doing its will and leaving me out of control. With embarrassment I decided not to continue this session, but put this experience away to be revisited again at a later time. I did not return to a potter's wheel for thirty years.
Eventually the wheel was mastered and the shape of the bowl became simple yet elegant, calling out as a palette needing to be drawn upon, added to and carved, colored with glazes. I like to show the richness of the natural red and brown clays by leaving portions of my pieces unglazed. Or by glazing over a dark clay, I can bring out the richness and depth of a beautiful glaze.
I love clay. I love the metamorphosis of that soft, wet stuff as it moves toward the hard and sturdy fired bowl. The bowl calls to have its exterior covered with the colors and shapes of the desert, to be carved with the action of the Pacific waves and sky, the shapes of geometry, to be sculpted and added to and carved.
I also love wax and the resulting joy of flame and light. Colors are easy and disasters are just melted. Again I can carve and mold, but the rules allow me wider expression.
The artist invites you to observe the contrast of elements: the wet and pliable to dry and rigid, the control of being shaped on the potter's wheel to the nearly uncontrollable nature of the fire, the dark rough, sculptured exterior to the smooth, glazed, light-collecting interior, the hardness and permanence of the finished bowl to the expendability of the candle.
This is my art.
© copyright 2010 - all rights to the images are retained by the artist