Andy Shaw

Resident Artist - Past

Residence Time: 2006-2008



Years ago, driving across Wyoming, I noticed a persistent glare of heat hovering above the road. To entertain myself I observed the changes within its relative distance from my car. As I approached the incline of a hill, the embodied illusion of the mirage would seem to slow and shorten the distance between us. On the descent, it would quickly shoot out in front of the car, lengthening space. Alone in the car on this long stretch of highway, the phenomenon of light and hear became a fickle companion involved in a cat and mouse pursuit. Anticipating that the mirage would draw near at the base of a hill, I thought it was waiting for me, while on the descent it seemed to mock and tease my attention by racing out of reach. I drove faster. The mirage matched my pace. Wondering if it was possible to get close to the mirage, I thought of a new plan. I pulled over to the shoulder of the road and walked onto the asphalt. My hands steadied my balance as I lowered my face to the hot surface. As I turned to find the glare, I knew that if I moved, it would respond. I became still and there we were.


Making pots is not unlike this tenuous relationship. I cannot coerce the clay but I can harmonize the intent within my touch. I find this harmony in the studio through exercises and repetition of movement that translate into form through a trusting balance between kinesthetic and intellectual attention. Through that balance the pottery makes physical and poignant contact between impressions of my life and those of the person using the pot through intimations in color, form and tactile sensation. The art of functional design promotes this compelling and privileged experience in a cup of tea and in a bowl of don noodles. Utilizing systematic patterns on a flexible surface, my work suggests freedom to bend within a predominant structure. When I use pots in my home, whether they are my own or the work of another potter, within the time over breakfast and with gentle insistence, the pots encourage me toward imagining a life. If in the relationship between my work and another person, the pots assist in revealing aspects of personal potential and of more generous self-reflections, then I have succeeded in creating objects.