NORTH LOGAN, Utah — Matt Fiske is a potter who enjoys the science behind his work as much as the work itself. He’s especially interested in driving his Jeep out into the desert of Utah looking for minerals he can take home, mill and use in his incredible glazes.
In the video we have for you today, Fiske gives a presentation about his studio to students at Utah State University. He explains to the students that he’s not doing anything new, just continuing a practice developed in China more than 1,000 years ago. Could have fooled us, though. If you visit his web site you can see some otherworldly work.
The high point of the video is when Fiske talks about engaging with his work on a microscopic scale. He shows pictures of his glazes, zoomed in hundreds of times over. We travel through an initial wave of fractals before reaching the outer limits of the microscope’s gaze— nanoparticles lurk deeper in the surface, like animals coming out of the shadows.
Fiske gets at the wonder of the natural world and its laws by using his studio practice. That’s illustrated in his biography:
I’m inspired by the natural phenomena that occur in mineralogy and geology. In my mind’s eye, glaciers give way to icy celadon glazes, volcanoes ooze magma as glazes cascade down curves and roll off edges, crystals grow when conditions are conducive.
Fiske obtained his MFA through Utah State University. He obtained his BFA in Studio Art and Ceramics at Indiana University. He spent a semester abroad in Jingdezhen, China. In 2013 he was awarded a fellowship at Utah State University to continue his ceramics and materials research.
Do you love or loathe this lecture in contemporary ceramics? Let us know in the comments.