Albuquerque Journal North

“Love of Experimentation and Study Shapes Potter’s Work:
Retired Figure Skater’s Artwork Comes in a Variety of Styles”

by Craig Sullivan

September 2000

Santa Fe artist David Carter began working with clay about four years ago.

But the variety of style and scope of work in his latest exhibit belies his relatively recent introduction to the medium.

He makes wheel-thrown porcelain sculptures with surfaces that feign various materials—such as wood, steel, glass, and stone.

His finishes, which may include one or more layers or lacquer, glaze, and latex mixtures of bronze and copper dust, further widen the appearance of the different styles. His work is part of a group show at the Joyce Robins Gallery. The opening reception is 5:30-7:30pm today at the gallery, 201 Galisteo Street.

Carter attributes the variety of styles in his work to his love for experimentation and study. What kiln temperature is required to make a piece porous enough to absorb glaze? How will glazes with metal oxides react to ammonium bathes? And how do you keep overworked porcelain from falling apart on a potter’s wheel?

These are all questions Carter posed and answered for himself through a trial-and-error process. But was it difficult?

“Oh, God, yes, it was,” he said during an interview Monday at his Santa Fe studio. “There was one piece I worked on and worked on, and the dog got up and left because my language was so dirty. Finally, I said, ‘You don’t want to be alive.’” Pretending to lift the piece off the potter’s wheel with his forearms, he crushed it.

Generally, Carter’s work tends toward large, massive, and hollow constructions, combining slabs with curved elements. In his most recent work, he has also added small circular reservoirs for water, which reflect their surroundings with the bright intensity of polished glass.

Carter, who is a retired figure skater, draws parallels between pottery and his former profession.

“I see a definite correlation between the two. On the ice, it’s all about being centered in yourself, and when you’re behind the potter’s wheel, there is this primal feeling of trying to find a center in the clay,” he said.

Unlike figure skating, however, which is painfully planned, pottery by its very nature involves a certain unpredictability, he said, adding, “It’s very refreshing to be in a place where there is a lot of mystery.”

The exhibit of his work will continue until September 15.

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