Justin Lambert BiographyLOCATED: Jupiter. FL
Justin Lambert DescriptionJustin's work is naturally glazed because of the wood firing; flashing from the flame and natural ash glazes create the patina and colors. Justin's work is even more unusual since it was fired in another kiln and location.
Justin Lambert StatementAn interest in objects that serve a specific purpose motivates me to make functional pottery. I am also interested in how pottery can inherently initiate a certain situation with a single user and companion. It is through the grouping of particular pots that I am able to suggest a special moment to occur.
It is the interaction of my pots that lead to certain scenarios alluding to the ideas of companionship and solitude. Groupings of bottles or cups are about inviting myself, and the viewer to slow down and take notice of the subtle diversities in form and the infinite variety of surface texture and color attainable through wood and soda firing. The scale of my work brings the viewer in close to examine the subtleties of form and surface, and creates a more intimate experience through its utilitarian qualities.
The firing process I choose provides a direct interaction between the clay and the user. My work is not covered with any glaze, rather the firing itself glazes the work, enriches the surface and brings out intrinsic color from the clay. My investigation into high alumina clay bodies in both wood and soda firing leads my research. I reduction cool these kilns to achieve deeper colors, and to explore a palette somewhat unknown. Frosty, dry, movement rich glazed surfaces provide information for future work, and my careful analysis of surface to form integration provide insight to new formula’s and firing schedules.
My work is influenced by pottery from all cultures, but more specifically Southeast Asia, including Oceania, and Africa. I feel these cultures primary concern when making pottery was its’ function. Form simply followed function and some of the most amazing pottery in the world was made. Their honesty, simplicity, necessity, and beauty are the qualities I strive for in my own work.
I've spent the majority of my life in and around water enjoying the natural wonder of our world, swimming, surfing, fishing, boating, snorkeling, rafting, star gazing, hiking, etc. These activities provide a certain feeling that subconsciously has influenced my work. I do not try to recreate work directly representing these influences, yet the feeling is prevalent in my work. Slip lines represent swell lines, curvaceous forms feel similar to coves and points, loading strategies remind me of looking through my telescope, and surface effects resembling earth and water in various stages of tranquility and turmoil.
Some of my fondest memories growing up are of friends and family gathering around a meal. Both my mother and grandmother had beautiful "china cabinets" filled with fine porcelain pottery only used for special occasions. I recall the sound of dishes rattling when myself, siblings, or friends would accidentally "bump" the cabinets while playing. A moment of stillness followed as I listened to make sure nothing had broken. I use functional pottery as a means to encourage these important moments to occur, taking the "preciousness" of porcelain from the occasional to everyday. My clay bodies start with porcelain, and I then blend in various other clays to help encourage the color and ash glaze achieved through the wood firing process.
Wood firing in an Anagama style kiln poses many challenges, and opportunities. It's extremely labor intensive, requiring constant stoking every 5-10 minutes for a duration of 3-6 days minimum. My kiln utilizes 3 cords of wood each firing (we fire 5 times per year). I love firing with wood for many reasons. There is no other way to achieve the color, drama, individuality, and connection from maker to user. No two pieces will ever be the same, and there is no "applied" glaze separating the user from the bare clay.
Wood selection is crucial in achieving my results, and fortunately I have several different trees to select from. I work with local landscape companies that have to remove various trees for all sorts of reasons. Some are invasive species the state requires to be eradicated, developers placing trees that overgrow their initial location, hurricane preparation, etc. The wood is delivered to my home, cut into logs 2-3 ft long, cleared of branches, and best of all absolutely FREE! They have to pay to dump the wood at the county facility, so it's a win win on both sides. I cure the wood until it starts to "check", then split and stack the wood under cover in preparation for a firing. I often use "green" wood, as it provides a dynamic color range. I burn specific wood at certain times during a firing to promote melt and flow, speckling, and desired color blend interaction.