Over the past few months I have been pushing to complete a new series of table ware for the 3 Michelin star, San Francisco restaurant: Saison. The project has taken 3 months and has pushed me to the fringes of patience with the non-plastic local earthenware from Mendocino county used exclusively for order. In upholding my commitment to this material and this place, I am reminded that only the earth knows patience in its most honest and unadorned state. Maintaining scale and perspective regarding this issue keeps us moving at the same pace. I'm honored to be working with Saison and look forward to seeing them in use.
Summer Sale - June 18-25
N e w W o o d F i r e d T a b l e w a r e
+ S i t e W i d e D i s c o u n t
I will be hosting my summer online sale starting this Saturday, June 18th at 8:00 AM (PT.) For this event I will be offering a 15% off site wide discount on my inventory, which will include new wood fired vessels and tableware from recent firings. You can view my online shop here, and as always, thank you for your support.
I'm happy to announce that I will be teaching a kiln building workshop at Mendocino Art Center, Aug 4-7. Participants will learn the principles of construction while gaining hands on experience helping to construct a train kiln in beautiful Mendocino, CA. The design will emphasize firing efficiency, ease of loading, and smoke reduction. Housing is available on site and space is limited. Visit www.mendocinoartcenter.org for registration information.
I'm very happy to share the newest selection of sake ware from my last firing. The works are available for viewing and purchase in my online store.
Many of us are familiar with the expression of a chawan's ability to condense all of time into a single bowl - thus eliminating the relationship between size of object and size of content. Historically, it is a form containing strong references to the often intangible and immeasurable universe. This act of condensing is a challenge which I confront in all of my work, using the tea bowl and its symbolic capacities as the metaphorical framework for the pursuit. In essence, the smaller the work, the harder it becomes to express vastness. This is specifically a concern with sake ware and other small cups. It is a challenge not only framed by functional concerns - as the act of drinking is of primary importance - but also of the ability for the maker to practice restraint. When proper restraint is shown, the world outside is allowed to enter and flow freely into the space - much like opening a window in a home. Space outside becomes inseparable from the space within. Never full, never empty. It is my hope that, while small, these works may be seen as capable of containing much more than the liquid they serve.
I will be offering a selection of recent cone five wood fired, high temperature natural ash glazed, and kohiki work for sale December 10-19. Work can be viewed and purchased in my online store www.etsy.com/shop/mitchiburgceramics
Use discount cone for 15% off starting Dec 10th at 9:00 AM PT.
While living in Mendocino I wanted to develop an approach to working that translated my experience with my surroundings. I was most interested in the geographical distance between the ocean to my west and coast range mountains to my east - especially in how the boundaries of their expressions clashed, overlapped, and in some areas blended into one. Beyond an amazement with the visual byproducts of of subduction, erosion, and sedimentation, I was interested in how the rocks of the shore, which one would normally perceive as sedentary, were just as fluid as the ocean that bombarded them. In a sense, this meeting place of land and sea - the shore, reflects a plastic quality- responding to the water's presence via erosion and to its absence by lightening in color over time via oxidation. It was my hope to pursue a series of work which referenced the behavior of this source.
Works from California, Denmark, and Virginia - repaired with 23 karat gold earlier this summer. Contact for availability.
"The same regions do not remain always sea or always land, but all change their condition in the course of time."
Compared to the scope of nature's history, our sense of time is nothing but miniscule. Our eye witness account of erosion is nothing more than mere handfuls of dust, considering the seemingly unfathomable transformations which our earth has undergone in its life. Even our most dearly held and most deeply imbedded collective memories are shadowed by the immense memory etched into the earth itself - its history of conflict and resolution, stillness and activity - revealed through its monumental scars, masses, and voids.
We yearn to understand the immensity of this natural timeline and to read this evidence of its presence in the world around us. Our fascination with the ruins of human past and the records of human presence are prime examples. As we contemplate abandoned structures, hieroglyphics, and oral traditions, we not only view the content at hand, but also the weight of time. It is this awareness of distance and history that most perplexes us.
This is the human perspective - a view which, at most, illuminates less than .02% of earth's history. How can we begin to fathom the immensity of time which lies beyond it - beyond our conventional wisdom? The answer to the measurement of large change lies in large numbers. Only a small percentage of people understand the language of scientific time - the equations, numbers, and values which are more or less incomprehensible for the mathematically faint of heart.
Yet, what of a simpler language? To what extent can we comprehend this larger scale of time through direct contact and interaction with its byproducts - the unassuming, every-day events, objects, formations, and expressions of the world around us? The ground beneath our feet, the water lapping at the shore, each tree and plant. Furthermore, can we see how one merges to the other? Can we experience the earth's heat and energy in the cooled lava of the sea floor? When that sea floor is subducted and transformed to mountains, can we still see its origin? In the detritus of the mountain in the form of erosion? In the bed of clay? Lastly, can we still catch a brief glimpse of this origin when holding a shaped and fired bowl?