Interview by Zoe Allison
Z – Do you have a sense of a mission with making your art?
W – Not a mission per se, just a determination to continue doing what I’m doing as long as I’m able.
Z – Is there something you might not want to make again?
W – I had this massive piece of marble weighing many tons. I carved on it for two years. I might not want to tackle such a long term project again. The sculpture is at the Judeo Reform Congregation in Durham, called Naming the Silence, and it’s the biggest thing I’ve ever made.
Z -since you’ve been doing this for so any years I’ve seen you work in clay, stone and metal. Preferences?
W – It’s all about the Call of the work. I started out with clay. digging it up in back yard, cooking it up in household oven. taking lots of summer classes, any chance to take clay class. My mom helped me figure out where the classes were and I’d ride my bike. I learned throwing. I studied in college as an art major in functional pottery. Tea pots were my thesis. “hot drinks” was the name of it. I made a piece called The Last Great American Breakfast. table out of plywood, a large doily fabric, American flag and burned huge canyon down center. giant cigarette of clay down center that lead to a huge coffee cup, giant handle at end and it was called The Last Great American Breakfast.
Z- Do you have a particular procedure in your work?
W – Yes, I start at the beginning. (laughter)
Z – I notice a kind of a layering in your pieces, like the wall piece with shadowing or stacking things. Is layering part of your statement?
W – Pottery has limitations in the size you can work with. How big can you handle? Reaching down into the interior of a piece, from the inside, you must be able to reach inside. In the bigger pieces that have more visual impact, they tell a montage story and they are put with pieces built for an assemblage. Texturing clay deeply with all my materials, I throw it like pizza dough to bring in the natural tendency of the clay. I invite nature to take its course, I start surface developing and then hardly touch it, allowing the clay to takes its own form and it leads me on and surprises me. I stamp a texture and work with the allowing surface.
Z – do you like subtraction more than addition?
W – equal
Z – How do you determine the cost of pieces?
W – I sell things at every price range and many various materials. ceramic, wood, cement, bronze, metal. People see and purchase my items at the NC botanical gardens , 123ArtStudios and the Art in the Garden Sculpture show in Hillsborough the 1st two weekends in May each year . They can also call to make an appointment to come see and purchase my work at my Studio .
I have a smaller price range for the souvenir if a person just wants to take a piece of my art home with them.
Z – What do you hope people will receive from bringing your work into their lives?
W – People may already have a lot and they want to bring maybe a color or shape. People may want to encourage the artist. People support your artistic adventure like a vicarious thing for themselves. They like what you’re doing and they want to support you. That work inspires people by having it around, looking at it, studying how it is made. Often work continues to speaks beyond the final moment of it’s making . The artist continues to comunicate beyond the moment of creation as the piece becomes a part of a new environment.
Z – How long have you lived in this county?
W – Since 1995
Z – Did you immediately join the Chatham Artists Guild?
W – Yes. The studio tour allowed me to become a full time artist.
Z – Do you ever collaborate with other CC Artists?
W – I made some clay frames for a Chatham County painter.
Z – What most excited you about your current project?
W – I’m busy with the studio tour. Luckily sales have been brisk and a good thing the creative flow is in high gear for making more! It’s my job. It’s the way I make my living and it’s that I need to go to work. I’m not pessimistic, I sidestep pessimism. I can put the hopelessness out of my brain process