Clay

Ceramics

Planet Inspired

Backyard Clay

Ceramics

I remember being in elementary school and running around digging holes like kids do.  When we “hit clay,” we got excited, and for whatever reason we thought we had discovered gold and would be “set for life.”   

I’ve always had an attraction to clay and the earth.  The feel as well as the smell.  I enjoy gardening and being connected to the ground.  I never thought I would be an artist, but when I look back at my interest and comforts, the fact that I give shape to earth with my hands and fire, it seems to make sense.   

Clay is a challenging material, often reminding me that it is the boss, not me.   A potter experiences many failures.  This is what makes a finished piece so cherished to me.  There are so many different steps that must go perfectly in order to create ceramic art. My ceramic work is wheel-thrown and covers a wide range of color and forms, much of which is inspired by mid-century-modernism. 

Moon Pots

When Jeff was young, he received a telescope for his birthday. Since then, he has had an interest in space. A few years ago, Jeff even upgraded to a fairly large telescope to enjoy the night sky from his farm. With more time spent looking at the moon’s surface, he began to think to himself:

I could do this in clay!

Out of this, Jeff then tinkered with making a moon-looking vessel in the studio. With positive responses, Jeff realized he wasn’t the only individual fascinated by the moon; there seemed to be universal intrigue for its textures.

Although interesting in daylight, these vessels come alive when it’s in the evening. If lit from one direction after dusk they reveal a shadow or a “dark side” of the moon.

These pieces are popular gifts for all – not limited to the “science nerds” in good company.

Moon Pots

When Jeff was young, he received a telescope for his birthday. Since then, he has had an interest in space. A few years ago, Jeff even upgraded to a fairly large telescope to enjoy the night sky from his farm. With more time spent looking at the moon’s surface, he began to think to himself:

I could do this in clay!

Out of this, Jeff then tinkered with making a moon-looking vessel in the studio. With positive responses, Jeff realized he wasn’t the only individual fascinated by the moon; there seemed to be universal intrigue for its textures.

Although interesting in daylight, these vessels come alive when it’s in the evening. If lit from one direction after dusk they reveal a shadow or a “dark side” of the moon.

These pieces are popular gifts for all – not limited to the “science nerds” in good company.

Moon Pots

When Jeff was young, he received a telescope for his birthday. Since then, he has had an interest in space. A few years ago, Jeff even upgraded to a fairly large telescope to enjoy the night sky from his farm. With more time spent looking at the moon’s surface, he began to think to himself:

I could do this in clay!

Out of this, Jeff then tinkered with making a moon-looking vessel in the studio. With positive responses, Jeff realized he wasn’t the only individual fascinated by the moon; there seemed to be universal intrigue for its textures.

Although interesting in daylight, these vessels come alive when it’s in the evening. If lit from one direction after dusk they reveal a shadow or a “dark side” of the moon.

These pieces are popular gifts for all – not limited to the “science nerds” in good company.

Planet Inspired Clay

My work is constantly evolving and my planet surfaces are a perfect example of that. These are more complex than the Moon Pots, with up to 20 layers of surface treatment. Some of these steps use fun yet effective ways of eroding the surface in high-speed geological fashion. Some of the textures can include mountain ranges, variation in color, dried up riverbeds, volcanos, and other identifiable features.

Squirt guns, Saran wrap, steel wool, and local clays are some of the playful tools in creating these one-of-a-kind works. When lit from one direction, they come to life and reveal geography that can dramatically mimic the photography from passing satellites. These are some of the most sculptural and painterly of all of my surfaces.

Backyard Clay

In 2007, Jeff purchased a five-acre farm just south of town. Now home and studio, he continues to appreciate the property for its natural inspiration — old orchards, a freshwater spring, five barns, a vegetable garden. etc.

Three years into purchasing the property, Jeff’s garden experienced issues. Jeff soon discovered his property is sitting on natural Michigan clay. Having modest intentions for using the material, he conducted simple test firings of homemade bricks. The cooled kiln revealed clay that had become beautiful rich, rusty red in the firing process, and Jeff quickly regarded this clay was similar 10 a purchasable ‘earthenware.’

From then on, Jeff plays with this day —spending time digging, processing, and refining the material. After digging, Jeff lays out the clay to dry on his barn floor. Once bone dry. it’s placed in clean trashcans filled with water. The clay then dissolves Into a thick slurry that will then be sifted through a window screen. Rocks, twigs. and unwanted debris are removed to leave a khan step behind. Only days later. after hanging to dry in pillowcases, the slip sets to a consistency similar to commercially sold day.

Knowing this low-tech production has been used for thousands of years, Jeff experiences the tradition more intimately by creating limited pieces from this ‘Backyard Clay”.

Take a tour!

Come see Jeff Blandford’s incredible art in person! Take a tour of the Gallery in Saugatuck, MI.