The son of a builder, ceramic artist Jason Green became very familiar with architecture and the construction process. So it is no surprise that he likes to work big when it comes to clay. His experience with architectural spaces also plays into his work conceptually. Through his architectural ceramic sculpture and installations, Jason delves into relationships between objects, physical spaces, time and memory. Even his process was developed by borrowing from the architectural ceramics industry. Today, he explains this process and tells us a little about his work. – Jennifer Harnetty, editor
I have always been interested in the triggers that initiate recollection and how memories are often tempered by the mutable characteristics of the architectural spaces we once inhabited.
As a visiting artist at Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts-once a functioning brick factory-I discovered a pile of old wooden molds used for making a variety of brick and decorative moldings. I used these molds briefly, and then began making my own using both plaster and wood components. Having also made several visits to Boston Valley Terra Cotta, a company that restores and renovates terra cotta façades, I had a good idea of the techniques involved in the production of larger and more sculptural architectural terra cotta. Boston Valley Terra Cotta also had an immense “graveyard” of fragments taken from buildings during the restoration process. These fragments were like complete sculptures, each telling its history with the chipped, caked, cracked and crazed surfaces that had developed over time.
Still interested in questioning the relationships between surface, architectural space and memory, I later began making flat, square stoneware tiles with surfaces cast from a mold taken from embossed wallpaper. As with the clay-lined rooms I built, this work did not intend to refer to a specific space but was meant to recall “spaces past” – the ones we grew up in and have an intimate connection to. As my pieces grew in size, and my arrangements of tile deviated from the square, they also began to elicit recollections of architectural ruins. The modular nature of my pieces allows multiple configurations while suggesting they are fragments of something larger and more expansive. Often my pieces also suggest that they may have once functioned as aqueducts or gutters with meandering channels directing the movement of liquids. The nesting of cavities and protrusions also recall the curves of the body while the thick slip and glaze are like stretched skin. The fluidity of dripping glazes, now frozen in time, bring to mind the force of gravity and the aspects of chance inherent in the firing process.
Inspiration from Industry
To learn more about architectural ceramics, check out Ceramics in the Environment in the Ceramic Arts Daily Shop.