Gregory Fields

279 S Buchanan Cir, Louisville, CO 80027

I have been a ceramic artist since 2003, when I began sculpting in water-based clay in Seattle. My father Curtis Fields was an accomplished painter in San Francisco, and I grew up with pencils, paint brushes, and studio space in our home. Now I create sculptures in ceramic, welded steel, and occasionally wood. Birds, animals, plants, and other natural or abstract forms take shape on tall pillar sculptures, in smaller works, or in colorful ceramic murals. I love the incredible malleability of clay and the wide diversity of surfaces that can be had in the medium. My glaze palette ranges from rubbed off stains—which give a weathered, ancient look to the carvings—to brightly colored glazes. I am greatly inspired by pre-Columbian Mayan ceramics and stonework, and Matisse’s paper cutouts.

Two decades spent in a monastery bring a contemplative spirit into much of my work. I feel a deep, serene beauty underlying the intense struggles of life, and seek to express this through imagery carved in the ancient and malleable clay medium.

I use mid-range cone 6 clay bodies with grog in my ceramic work. The grog, which is pre-fired clay ground into small grains, helps reduce cracking as the clay dries and is fired. I create the pieces in wet clay with a variety of hand tools. I often use a slab-roller which creates sheets of wet clay of various thicknesses. I may add various textures to the sheets of clay with rocks or bark or other items from my texture collection, and then cut the sheet into shapes to be added to the sculptures. When the hand work is done, the piece is placed on a wire rack so it can dry evenly on all sides. Then the work is bisque fired to 1942 degrees F. At this stage the pieces are often given washes of ceramic stains to bring out the surface texture, then glazed in whole or in part. Then the work goes back into the kiln and fired to maturity at about 2300 degrees.

Many pieces remain as ceramic only but in recent years I have been incorporating steel into my sculptures. Sometimes the steel work is mostly hidden and serves as a support structure for larger pillar pieces. In these I weld a steel frame, then attach cement backer-board to the steel, then mortar and grout the ceramic work to the backer-board. In other works, I will use found pieces of scrap steel as integral elements of the sculpture, and I fasten ceramic elements to the steel with high grade sculptural epoxy. Recently I bought a plasma cutter and am now experimenting by cutting interesting forms in sheets of steel to integrate with ceramic elements. Often I let the steel gradually rust and to add interest to the pieces.

I have a strong interest in public art where I can take my creativity out into the greater community. My public art practice began in 2008 in Seattle on a small project working with children of the South Park neighborhood to create textured tiles that were installed in concrete benches and steps in a river front park where 8th Avenue South meets the south bank of the Duwamish River. In 2009, I completed a project commissioned by the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture to create art for a five block stretch of 14th Avenue South. This work included two 8.8 foot tall pillars clad with hand-carved ceramic tile and seventeen strips of 6 inch wide tile set in the sidewalk. In 2014, I was commissioned by Yamhill County to create a pillar piece for the new Yamhill Transit Center in McMinnville, Oregon. I currently have a tall pillar sculpture on display in Lake Oswego, Oregon’s Gallery Without Walls program and another pillar piece was just installed in Loveland, Colorado in the city's TAAP program. Next year another piece is earmarked for Lafayette’s Art on the Street program. I regularly apply to public opportunities as I find the collaborative aspect of these projects very satisfying.

Sculpture, Metal, Ceramic

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