Untitled (Pottery)

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Untitled (Pottery)

Jeremy Ogusky

“I thought about that layering in terms of clay.”

Interview by L. Valena


So, first I would love to hear your description of what you responded to.

Oh wow. I ate it with my wife and my son, and we inhaled it as quickly as possible. We didn't choose to- but once we started eating we couldn't stop, so we made quick work of it. I love bread, I've been eating bread my whole life, and I thought I knew all the different types of bread, but I hadn't eaten anything like this before! It was just so rich with flavor, and I loved all the seeds. There were different textural elements in the bread, and different flavors and spices, and I loved it visually- it was just beautiful. So we started by just eating it to appreciate the beauty of it, and then we just tore it apart.

What was your first reaction?

I wanted to find out who made this, and I wanted to commission more bread! But then when I thought about what I was going to make in reaction to it, my first reaction was probably the reverse of the goal of the project, I think.

When I make my work, I'm always commissioned to make pieces, I never make anything from my own inspiration or my own ideas. I mean everything comes from my own mind, and it has my touch to it, but it's always inspired or requested by other people. I'm not really accustomed to just making stuff inspired by a a non-customer- I had trouble thinking creatively about how to make something inspired by this awesome bread.

So I did what I usually do- I thought I would just make something functional that a bread like this could be served on, and I was thinking it should be something that would compliment this bread. And I was talking with my wife about it, and she said 'no, Jeremy- that is not the point of this project! It's not to make something that compliments the piece, it's to make something that's inspired by it.’ She was encouraging me to think more broadly about what I could do. And that was good, but it was hard.

So I just thought about the aesthetics of the piece, and the shape of it, and I really liked how the piece had different layers to it- there were separate layers, not of bread, but layers of a dough, that was layered together with spices. And I thought about that layering in terms of clay. I do use different types of clay, but I've never added them together, I've never layered them, I've never combined different clays in one piece. It just never occurred to me. So I thought this was a cool opportunity to try it. I thought about the clay and the different layers of dough, and I added them together, and I made it into something somewhat mimicking the shape of the original bread. I kind of used the forms, and you kind of get these layers. But at the same time I am a functional potter, and I wanted it to have some function, so I left the inside of it as a very shallow bowl. The user of this vessel could put food in it- olives, or oil, or something. That's really what inspires me about ceramics, is the use of them, especially related to foods. So it's like partially inspired by it, but also partially inspired by my interest in its use.

Very cool. I know that your work in general is often connected to the visions of other people and their businesses, and it's cool to hear about what happens when you bust out of that.

Yeah, it was a challenge, but I'm happy that I was forced to do that- it was fun.

And, when it came out of the kiln, and you saw it... what did it say to you? The functional piece of it is really cool, but what else did it make you think about?

I thought it was beautiful. I like it aesthetically as an object. One of my first thoughts is curiosity as to how it is used by someone else or inspires them.

Do you have advice for someone else participating in this project?

I think I would give someone else the same advice that my wife gave me- think about this differently than you think about your usual work. This is not your typical client-relationship type work, this is an opportunity to do something different. I'm happy she forced me to think about it that way.

Process shots of the vessel 1) in progress and 2) fresh from the kiln.

Call Number: Y5FD | Y9VA.oguUnti

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Jeremy Ogusky is a studio potter, husband, father, hard worker, RPCV, collaborator, and passionate fermenting evangelist living in Boston, Massachusetts. He strives to create work that has use.