Will Dickert BiographyMy studio and main base of operations is in beautiful Asheville, NC. I got my B.A. in Art with a focus in Ceramics from the University of Asheville. As a post-baccalaureate student at the same university, I recieved my North Carolina public schools teaching certification for Art, K-12. I now share a working space with artists I respect and admire as well as fire with a crew that is more than gracious and worthy of praise. I feel very blessed to have found a niche in this vibrant community of artists and hard-working, inspiring people. I grew up and spend a great deal of time in Bristol, Virginia, down in the Southwestern, mountainous tip of the state, right on the Tennessee and North Carolina borders. I percieve my environment to be an important part of my identity, and one of which I am quite proud. I find satisfaction in, and seek out the natural environment of the mountains, hollows, rivers and lakes of this region. I am also fascinated by meeting and connecting with people who also call this place home and this culture their own. Coming from Bristol, the "Birthplace of Country Music," I'm a live music fanatic and bootleg collector and lover of guitar-music and Americana. I also greatly enjoy cooking, and eating, with friends and family. Although I have been able to call pottery and running my business my primary vocation for a number of years now, I am also passionate about youth and adult education and exposure to art and arts-based communities. So, I substitute teach, do after-school clay programs, and for the past 14 summers have been employed in one capacity or another at one or another summer camp in these NC mountains. Most recently, I have been employed by Blue Ridge Community College teaching clay in the Continuing Education department.
Will Dickert StatementMy work is an attempt to make thoughful and honest objects that represent the inherent qualities of the rugged natural materials I use - stoneware. By firing my work in large, brick, wood-feuled kilns, quite often without applied glazes, I rely heavily on a growing emperical knowledge that is based on observation of action and reaction between clay, fire, placement in the kiln and serendipity to create dramatic surfaces that compliment my forms.
I get a great deal of excitement and inspiration from creating pots. On the wheel, I have most recently been drawn to making pots that capture gesture, impulse, emotion and feeling. By stretching, pulling, cutting away from and then sometimes even patching thrown pieces while they are wet on the wheel, I find it offers a freshness and flow to my work that is inspiring and vibrant. It entertains a side of me that desires for impulse and instant distillation of gesture in that moment. Working this way allows me a certain degree of personal abandon. The other side of me desires to refine and manipulate the material into a certain finished form and quality that is somewhat distant from any specific emotion, feeling or moment in time. I very much enjoy making pots that are born out of this side of me such as teapots, mugs, storage jars and tableware. So, my newest attempts in both my wheel-work and handbuilding, is combining both of these desires and tendencies to render satisfying results in my finished forms. Loading and firing my work is the other point in the process I feel most charged and driven...and challenged. In reflection, I accredit my draw to wood-firing to the two sides of my personality evident in my making process and thinking about my work. Both are satisfied by using this long, labor-intensive technique of finishing and decorating pottery. For instance, when loading the work in the kiln, more often than not, work is organically packed, using a technique called tumble-stacking. In this, a great deal of thought and care is taken to manipulate how the wares are spatially related and stacked together to create color contrast, drama, texture and flash and ash deposition. However, as stated, a certain (somewhat high) degree of circumstance, chance and serendipity are at play in harmony in a successful wood-firing. Thus, a distillation of the atmosphere inside of the kiln over the course of a three-plus-day firing is recorded on the surfaces of the pots and sculptures. It provides that freshness and flow I have, as of late , been seeking in my making processes. While, at the same time, creating an art object that will display that journey for longer than any lifetime, if properly cared for.
I have been thinking a lot about the often striking dichotomies in life, people and my beloved vocation, studio pottery. It is the constant back and forth or ebb and flow of our existance and environment that is at odds with, in my opinion,the human desire to find one's own balance point that confounds, inspires and enlightens us. I find it keeps my work cycles and introspective nature entertained and feuled. Now, whether that it is at all evident in my work, is another question. One that is ultimately up to you, my audience and patrons.