I first met Adam Field at Taos Clay in Taos, New Mexico when he was giving a slide presentation on his work and talking about his experiences working with potters in South Korea. His relationship with Nature and Art impressed me.
Born and raised in Colorado, Adam earned his BA in Art from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. For two years he immersed himself in the culturally rich art scene of the San Francisco bay area, where he began his full-time studio practice. From there, he relocated to Maui, where his studio business thrived. He spent most of 2008 in Icheon, South Korea, studying traditional Korean pottery techniques under 6th generation Onggi master Kim Il Maan. Onggi is a Korean pottery tradition of making jars for everyday use. Pickled and fermented food is an important part of the Korean diet, so Onggi potters had to find fast and efficient ways of making storage jars. Upon his return to the states, Adam established his studio in Durango, Colorado. His works are included in private collections internationally.
Describe your first experience with clay.
My first memorable experience with clay was early in elementary school, I have very clear memories of the smell of the moldy clay as my teacher opened the bag. I also remember the smell of the clay dust coming off of the wedging table. I remember being very impressed with my teachers ability to easily cut the clay into neat blocks with her wire tool. I don’t actually remember working with the clay at that time but the process of preparing the clay really stuck with me. My work now has a lot to do with process now, it’s interesting to look back and see that that is what first caught my attention in clay.
Where do your ideas come from? What’s your creative process?
I find that most of my ideas for my pots come from making pots, the more I can get my hands in the clay, the more I am able to work through ideas. Many artists can work ideas out with sketches, I find that by making actual pieces and paying close attention to what is happening right in front of me, in my own hands, I am able to learn the most which allows my work to progress over time.
If there’s any method to my creative process, it is for me to take in as many interesting things as I can stand. I make it a point to listen to my sense of curiosity, if I’m walking down the street and see something that catches my eye I’ll take the time to stop and investigate further. By exposing myself to things that interest me and thinking about why they are interesting to me I come up with a whole set of fresh ideas for my work all the time.
Girl Talk (musician, not what you’d expect by the name, well worth checking out).
Whose work is in your own collection?
My wife and I collect pottery from close potter friends we have known over the years, it is really great to be reminded of them on a daily basis during meals, it sparks conversations and memories of great times in the past. We have some really great photos by Sarah Price as well as some amazing encaustic paintings by our friend Brad Huck.
How would your creativity express itself if you couldn’t work with clay?
Photo Journalism. I was well on the path to becoming a professional photographer when I got hooked on clay. I really enjoy being able to tell a story visually. I am able to do this with my clay work but there is a degree of separation or abstraction with clay that you don’t get so much when it comes to photography.
What is the most unexpected aspect of making art for a living?
The percentage of time spent actually making work compared to all of the other tasks that come with making art for a living. My time in the studio only makes up about 50% of my total time spent working.