Todd Matteson, M.F.A.
Associate Professor / Chairperson, Art
My wheel work is an expression of my love for traditionally thrown Chinese and Japanese forms and Native American designs. The transformation given to these designs reflect my interest in two-dimensional design and contemporary tribal tattoos. Since people have walked on this earth, vessels have had a timeless identity as storage containers -- for food and beverage and for souls and spirits. I communicate with nature through my vessels. My vessels hold the spirits that are fired on the surface of the clay, like tattoos on the skin. The glazes on these vessels contrast boldly against the skin of the clay. The glazes fuse and burn naturally into the clay, causing halos of color around the designs, plus enhancing the forms. The glazes allow the designs to hold a nice clean line. The lids are bound to the vessels in a primitive way by using natural materials. Each design has its own meaning and holds something sacred within.
My hand built work was started as motivation for me to work outside the concept of the wheel. This process has allowed experimentation with new glazes. The monolithic forms are hard edged and curved while being firmly grounded. These monoliths represent immovable rocks that have been transformed by natural processes. The single glaze firing symbolizes that transformation in nature. The texture glaze is applied variably over low-fire glazes that juxtapose other glazes, creating a sense of change and the drying of the earth. The glaze colors are bright and colorful representing the fleeting colors in nature. The glazes are meant to allure the senses of touch and sight, causing the mind to ponder the relationship of the whole. Natural occurrences happen without a choice and humans have a relationship with these changes, without choice.
My pottery emphasizes technique and craftsmanship with a little playfulness of line. The undulating line represents rolling hills. The line allows for me to alter the symmetrical form and create an unbalanced look. The glazes emphasize the line and the curves created. The glazes fluidity is essential to the vitality of the form; creating a connection between the clay, shape and glaze.