At the age of six Trish lived to take off her shoes and slowly step into huge bogs of cool orange mud. She shuddered with delight as its cool, fine textures slipped between her tiny feet. Her little mind was completely engaged by the way it moved and the sounds it made. She spent hours lifting sludge and let it fall in huge globs splattering into the sea of surrounding mud. She smeared thin layers on her arms allowing it to dry, slowly cracking and crackling on her skin.
As she grew older and took her first pottery class in high school, she developed a more serious relationship to clay. She learned over years of diligent study to throw thin, elegant vessels. After a four year apprenticeship with a master potter and earning a BA in Ceramics at the University of Georgia, she had learned to strive for uniformity of form and control. She painstakingly mastered clay and worked on shapes, developing her own look on her mugs and bowls, trying to find her style, to leave her own mark on the clay. Her fellow classmates and Masters grumbled that hand-made pottery is a dying art. They questioned why they should spend hours of time and material making cups when a customer could get a lovely one from, say Ikea, for a fraction of the cost? This reality made her think. Why did she make pots?
It took her back to childhood, to the delight, the shudder, the feeling of smooth mud. She loved mud, how it felt in her hands when she took up a ball of clay to form it into a pot. She liked the ripples it made as she pinched and formed each cup.
She realized she was done striving for uniformity and control. Ikea, Target, even Wal-Mart could and would beat her there. Each cup, each plate, each bowl she makes, she strives to not hide her hands and the textured, lumpy nature of clay but rather to reveal them. She celebrates the imperfections in her work; they help her, an imperfect & messy woman, connect to them. It's that relationship between her, the clay, and the human that finally lifts her art to their lips that drives her.
Joseph Huebscher is a woodworker in Chattanooga, TN. He grew up learning woodworking from his father, a full time teacher and part time carpenter.
While he grew up in the Chattanooga area (right over the Georgia line) he went to Boston after college for grad school. In the process of fleeing an unwritten dissertation in medieval philosophy, he ended up in a woodworking shop in Salem, MA for a couple of years, where he started making bread boards out of scrap and selling them at a couple of local kitchen shops in Salem and Marblehead.
Upon returning to Chattanooga a few years ago, he set up shop in his garage, mostly building things for remodeling jobs, such as carriage house doors, wooden screen doors, cabinets, custom mill work, and an occasional piece of furniture or set of wooden toys for family and friends.
When the tornadoes came through a few years back, he and his father bought a portable sawmill, and he now also works part time rescuing downed trees from the landfill and fireplace, for which most of the items represented here were otherwise destined.