Ceramic artist Jennifer McCurdy lives on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. She has been working with porcelain for over thirty years. For the last few years, she has been working with structural questions. How thin can the high fire porcelain be before it collapses in the fire? How much can it be cut away and still maintain structural integrity? How can the structural form be integrated with the visual, as in nature? How can the movement of the potter’s wheel and the fire of the kiln be reflected in the finished piece, which is rock-hard and permanent?
As a potter, I strive to make my work reflect the balance of life. It is important that I integrate the patterns of that balance into my forms. I use a translucent porcelain body because it has a beautiful surface, and conveys the qualities of light and shadow that I wish to express. After throwing my vessel on the potter’s wheel, I alter the form to set up a movement of soft shadow. When the porcelain is leather hard, I then carve patterns to add energy and counterpoint. Finally, my work is fired to cone 10, where the porcelain becomes non-porous and translucent.
Some of the finished pieces hold elusive glimpses of the balance between the convex and the concave, and light absorbed and reflected. In further exploration, I marry the fine porcelain with the ancient art of gilding. The 23 carat gold leaf illuminates the interior of the vessel, to reveal new curves and patterns.