alcobaça vases


The Alcobaça Vases

In 1989, I was part of a small group of artists from the US that were invited to work in a ceramics factory in Alcobaça, Portugal. Arnie Zimmerman, Nancy Train Smith, Patrick Loughran and I worked for a month, each designing and completing a series of pieces in a low-fire, white earthenware clay body that was used by the factory.

The owner of the facility, Manual de Bernarda, was a designer and producer of giftware for the European market. He had a passion for bringing artists into his factory space to let them run free, interested in seeing how artists might use his materials and processes in ways that he hadn’t yet imagined.

We designed models, had them made into molds, slip cast the forms and then glazed and fired them using the materials at hand. My production molds were shipped back to me when I returned to the states, and I spent six months in 1993 casting around sixty porcelain vases.

The series of pieces that came out of this project are called the Alcobaça Vases, and over the next ten years I fired them in gas, electric and the anagama kilns.

1999-2003 woodfire series

1993 cartoon series