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Robert Wallace 

Artist Statement 


I have always been inspired by nature from the sublime views from our mountain tops, to the quiet beauty of lichens growing on a rock. It is the beauty of age and natural layers formed in ways our hand can never emulate that draw me in.  More than just a scene or image it is the story that nature tells that I want to emulate in my pottery.


My work begins on the potters’ wheel and is decorated with a variety of surface techniques and a small palate of glazes and stains; however it is in the wood-firing that I feel the pots come to life.  I begin my firings early in the morning and slowly build up the temperature to upwards of 2400 degrees by the late evening. It is through the constant attention and stoking of the wood kiln over hours and sometimes days that the story is written.  In this process clear evidence of the path of the flame appear on the pots through areas rich or light in the melted wood ash. To further exemplify this effect I spray Soda Ash mixed with water into the kiln at the highest temperatures of the firing.  This creates a vapor glaze that also follows the path of the flame. At this point I have to let go of the control but allow the process to truly decorate the pots with whatever story that firing will tell. In the end it is this not knowing what will come out but the anticipation and variation that every firing brings that makes it all worth while.   Robert Wallace



I received my B.F.A. in Painting and Art Education from Ohio University in 1999.  Shortly after that I moved to North Carolina and I discovered the art of bonsai at the 1999 Carolina Bonsai Expo.  I realized that instead of painting from nature’s inspiration I could sculpt using trees and plants from nature. Having some knowledge of clay from my undergraduate degree I started exploring how I could make containers for bonsai and other horticultural plantings.  When I went back to school to receive my masters degree I choose to explore ceramics further and In 2007 completed my M.A.E.d. from Western Carolina University focusing on ceramics, bonsai, and their connections to art education. This is also where I learned about wood firing and soda glazing techniques that I currently use in my work.  I currently live in Columbus, NC, with my beautiful wife and two sons. I teach high school and art and enjoy growing a collection of bonsai, competing in endurance sports, and running a pottery out of my house. I am in the planning process of building a new soda kiln that will fire with wood and gas, and hope to have it up and running soon.

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