“Your relationship to objects is selective, personal; only the things you feel yours become yours; it is a relationship with the physicality of things, not with an intellectual or affective idea that takes the place of seeing them and touching them. And once they are attached to you, marked by your possession, the objects no longer seem to be there by chance, they assume meaning as elements of a discourse…” – Italo Calvino. If On a Winter’s Night a Traveler. Page 143
I have an idea for a play, or at least for the format of one, in which human actors are replaced by empty costumes set among the necessary theatrical props. Aside from lighting changes and scene dialogue read from the wings, there is no other activity onstage. Early innovators in motion studies discovered persistence of vision, in which the retina briefly retains flashed still images. Utilizing this phenomenon to develop the perception of motion, they would show a sequence of images knowing that the brain would fill the time gaps between frames. I would apply an interpretation of this discovery to the play to see whether the tone of the dramatic dialogue can bring life to the vacancy in the costumes through the perception and imagination of the audience.
In my pottery, I examine this format of vacancy and the tenuous balance it requires of the viewer-participant in establishing completion. Knowing that the porcelain will become active components within a home, I design each piece so that it can adapt to place and to the personal preferences of each homeowner. In my studio I resist the artistic impulse to create overall resolution, opting instead to leave room for improvisation by the cook whose own need for creative resolution is just as necessary as mine. By leaving the glaze color neutral, cooks recognize the invitation for a spinach, strawberry and almond salad or perhaps for a grilled turkey club panini with purple onion. In this way, color is not a fixed quality in the pottery, allowing it to have an active role in daily cooking.
Paring the tableware down for utilitarian needs, the round forms develop consistency within a dinner set while the patterns, variations of lines and grids, offer individual distinction while maintaining the unity of the set. Patterns extend to the rims of plates and seemingly beyond to interact with the incidental, linear, domestic patterns present in shadows and in the architectural elements of wooden floors and stair railings. My patterns respond to contemporary home design trends while bridging to the pliability of handcrafted textiles. The generalized character of the patterns allow the porcelain to adapt to place easily, becoming a complement to a diversity of existing home designs.
In order for a pot to be functional it must be used. As the potter I design opportunities for the homeowner to add color to the porcelain and to incorporate it actively with other objects currently in the home. These purposefully designed thematic openings promote substantial connections between the pottery and its audience by drawing out practical and aesthetic utility within an advocacy for creative living.
— Andy Shaw
In 2000 he earned a MFA from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University and in 1992 a BA in History from Kenyon College. Additionally he studied at Penn State University as a special student in ceramics, the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and worked as an apprentice at Basin Creek Pottery, Montana.
His tableware has received multiple awards, is shown widely across the US, has been featured in exhibitions in Australia and Korea, and has been published in Studio Potter, Ceramics Monthly, Ceramics: Art and Perception, Garth Clark’s Shards, Shifting Paradigms in Contemporary Ceramics: The Garth Clark and Mark Del Vecchio Collection, Glaze: The Ultimate Guide, The New Ceramic Design Handbook, and Mastering the Potter’s Wheel.
Several museums hold his work within their collections: The Garth Clark and Mark Del Vecchio Collection at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the Swidler Collection at the Crocker Art Museum, AMOCA (American Museum of Ceramic Art), the Schein-Joseph Museum, and the Sanbao Institute of Ceramic Art in Jingdezhen, China.
In 2014 Andy travelled to Reykjavik Iceland to be a visiting artist at the Reykjavik School of Visual Art. He was a Presenter at the American Pottery Festival at the Northern Clay Center and at the Utilitarian Clay V Symposium at Arrowmont. Andy has taught workshops at the Penland School of Crafts, the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, the Arrowmont School of Crafts, and lectured widely at universities across the country.
In 2013, his alma mater, Lewisburg Area High School honored him with the Distinguished Alumni Award.