PAUL S BRIGGS
CLAY | Pinched-formed vessels and slab-built sculptural forms
Penland Affiliation | Penland Instructor 2018, 2023
Artist Information | Studio artist; education: MFA Massachusetts College of Art and Design, PhD Penn State, MSEd Alfred University, MA Oral Roberts University, BSEd The City College of New York; teaching: Penland School of Craft (NC), Harvard University (MA), Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MA), St. Olaf College (MN), University of Minnesota (MN); select exhibitions: Lucy Lacoste Gallery (MA), Friedman Benda Gallery (NYC), The Clay Studio (PA), San Angelo Museum of Art (TX), Design Miami (FL), Eutectic Gallery (OR), List Gallery at Swarthmore College (PA), Calling to Who We Are, NCECA Concurrent Exhibition (OH), Color Network, Mindy Solomon Gallery (FL), Constructed ClayScapes, San Angelo Museum of Art (TX); collections: Fuller Craft Museum (MA), Columbus Museum of Art (OH), San Angelo Museum of Art (TX), Alfred Ceramic Art Museum (NY)
Artist Statement | I am engaged in a process I call “pure pinching,” that is, making the goal of my practice to be present to the largely intuitive process of growing a form, most often, out of one piece of clay—it becomes a mindful practice. My process is neither additive nor subtractive but expansive. In one sitting I develop the form, intuitively sculpt it, and the moment ends as a vessel-like contemplative object due to the visual mystery of the process. While not the initial impetus for the work I increasingly reference nature. Currently, I’m taking inspiration from the distinctive vessels of the Jomon period of ancient Japan.
My first ceramics class was taken in high school in the Hudson Valley region in upstate New York. It was primarily a wheel-throwing class, but I also began hand-building. After those days, slab-building was my primary method of expression—pinch-forming was what I did while my clay slabs were becoming firm. I have studied educational theory and policy, art education, and theology, but I never ceased to pinch-form regardless of my path. After a circuitous and fortuitous journey, I am an artist-teacher at The Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston, MA. My partner and I share the evenings discussing life, art, sewing and quilting, ceramics and sculpture, and how far away our three children live.
Technical Information | Soda-fired stoneware, pinched from a single ball of clay