FIRST WEDNESDAY RECEPTION May 2, 6-8 pm
Standhardt creates his vessels on the potter’s wheel. When a vessel is leather-hard he creates up to five thousand individual indentations on the surface. He uses handmade steel tools to gradually create even, geometric patterns, then fires each one in an outdoor raku kiln. As soon as the pieces are removed from the firing, while they’re still glowing red, they’re buried in a mound of sawdust. This treatment gives the pots their soft, carbon-colored finish.
“I grew up on a fourth generation Pennsylvania Dutch farm, 40 miles northwest of Philadelphia, PA. That is where my love of patterns in nature really began. As my older brothers were enthusiastically hunting and fishing, I spent endless hours in the woods finding vines that I could weave into baskets or creating hand crafted objects from the pheasant feathers or rabbit furs that they would bring back. I loved the fractal designs found in plants such as ferns and the geometry of seeds in the various crops we grew. The patterns and textures we created working the land inspired me as well.
“When I was twelve, I observed a woman throwing pottery at a local arts festival, and I was enthralled. Soon after that, my father helped me build a crude kick wheel and I was off to the stream that ran through our farm to dig clay. My early efforts were crude but I worked hard and I learned quickly. I studied ceramics in high school under that very same woman, Linda Rohrbach.
“For the past 24 years, I have narrowly focused on three elements: pattern, form, and texture. I want my vessels to transmit a sense of tranquility and yet evoke a curiosity to touch and explore each one. There are surprises under the lids and the vessels themselves. One of the best compliments I get from people is how they enjoy handling my work.
“Each one is hand thrown then trimmed when leather hard. I texture them using old fashion bottle openers. Many people know them as “church keys”. When describing my work, I liken it to a form of contemporary folk pottery, one that requires a few simple tools, many hours, and great patience.”