Akar Ynomi Inventational 2018

I always liked being part of the chorus. Everyone’s differences in voice adds depth to the whole. It’s easy to believe that most of us prefer adding to the beauty of something larger than ourselves rather than pouting when we aren’t in the spotlight.  This show, the Akar invitational, has been my favorite annual exhibition since Kyle Houser and Jim Gottuso turned me onto it (and the whole idea of Yunomi and Chawans. Thanks guys!) 10 years ago, back in 2008. Back then, the same as now, 200 functional ceramic artists each contributing 5 works… that’s 1000 pieces.  As soon as I saw the first exhibition, I felt like a compass inside me spun and found a direction. I wanted to someday be asked to be part of this event.


This year will be my 2nd time, the difference this go-round is that Jessica Fong and I are exhibiting our collaborative work together under the FetishGhost banner. I’m pretty excited! It’s proving to be an impressive lineup and just to be an asterisks in the exhibition notes is all its going to take to make me smile.  

I’m happy with the work that we submitted. A year of experiments and working through the problems paid off. The work is everything I was hoping it would be once it was finally in hand.
Plesantly tactical
Nicely sensuous

Still, now that the problem solving is done, the biggest risk that we’re taking now is a risk that could very easily leave the work hanging unclaimed…
We decided to honestly price the work.
It’s priced to reflect the real costs of making the it.
It reflects its actual value.
We just needed to be content to show it proudly without relenting to the temptation to undersell it in the hope of gaining the validation of a red dot. (To be clear, I still would like that dot though.)
There’s more at stake than our ego or dollar signs; honest pricing is about valuing the work that’s being done. Sold or not sold, it has a value and before anyone else can be asked to respect that, we need respect the work ourselves first. Our craft is one of the very few gifts that we have to give to the world, it stands in place of us, to undervalue our gift cheapens what all of us are offering… 

Our best selves.
Be yourself and sing with the choir.



Tule Fog

Changes seem to come at one of two rates, catastrophic or slooooooowly.

I’m sure that, from the outside, this one is the latter, probably not even registering as much of a change at all to pretty much everyone except those who turn clay themselves, but I feel that there’s been some very long awaited tectonic movement… It’s the switch to a hand cut foot ring.


Tule Fog

“Tule Fog” 2017
Mid-Range stoneware

Not a big switch? I wholeheartedly disagree. It’s part of a drift away from the tightly turned symmetries, and for some reason, dispite wanting to make this switch since first watching Jessica Fong cut the feet on her work a few years back, I just couldn’t make it work for me. 


Until now… It finally clicked. It’s a tiny detail, wonderfully imperfect, small yet so full of character, and it’s only getting more so as the process carves itself into muscle memory. 


There’s a deep personal satisfaction that comes with process learning and bringing together a specialized skill stack to make this work. I’m very proud of the results. Each piece feels like it was meant to be made, like its alway been real, it just didn’t exist yet, it just needed a hand to be pulled into being.



I know, now that they’ve been made, given enough time, anyone could learn to make these, but at the moment, I’m going to indulge in the feeling the pride of seeing a design finally drop into place.

All it took was a pair of hands, lots of patience, and happy feet to make it happen.


The Kiss

We play in the studio as two lovers because that is what we are… two lovers; reading each other our poetry, picking bouquets to share with the world around us, creating a real world out of fantasy, we play because the world has done the impossible by crossing our paths and given us this moment together.



Consummate Bloom


Consummate Bloom” 2017
Mid-range red bodied stoneware fired with a crawling glaze
Hallmarked collaboration between Zygote & Jessica Fong


Spring Bloom


In the spring of 2017, an old family friend that hadn’t heard from in a very long time had contacted me asking to see my work. A lot of years have gone by since anyone from my past has looked my way, I had completely forgotten how uncomfortable it could be, pushing my work forward to one of my elders and saying “I made this”. While in the larger world, the work that I make successfully finds its tribe, in the world that I was raised, my tribe doesn’t approve of much of anything that I do. Now while this may or may not be true, it’s the story that rings in my head, so for me, it’s feels true enough to shape how I view that past world. 



Now this is a person that I respect immensely, but still, I asked for a delay, that I would show her something later. This wasn’t to blow her off, although that’s exactly what I did, it was a delay to effectively make something that I could put in front of her and not feel like she would disapprove. 


A year later, I’m happy with what came out of the kilns. None the less, although the design that spun out of the studio landed well with my clients, I still haven’t set any of the results down in front of her. Disappointing my elders isn’t something I relish in any way. Still, I really should, just to thank her for motivating my hand in a new direction, even if that new direction is just for a passing moment. 


Twilight Fireflies

When I was much, much younger, my girlfriend and I had a penchant for sneaking out after dusk on warm summer nights, and under the light of the full moon we’d count fireflies as we strolled the deer paths through the meadows.

The nights were soft and so blue, we felt like we were alone, walking in a world filled with night magic.

We were wrong about many things, but not that.

These two pieces are representatives of a micro-edition of 6 floral motif chawans that went through the kilns in 2017. Firefly glows, night blooms, moon light, contemplative love… summer night poetry.

What makes this series of particular interest to me is the glaze that was used. It’s a semi opaque textured glaze made soft to the touch by gently sanding the surface with a diamond pad. These feel absolutely amazing! 

Rooster and Fireflies

“Rooster and Fireflies” 2016
Soda fired stoneware
Hallmarked studio collaboration between Zygote and Jessica Fong


Aside from the first and foremost responsibility of the craftsman, (to bring together the skills and materials necessary to create competent and well crafted work), the craftsman can also choose to take it the game further… by adding more of themselves into the work; sharing small personal vignettes of a hidden internal life; snippets of secret parables; hints of poetry, suggestively sublime.

This isn’t merely a decorative exercise… This is an attempt at subjective substance. 


“Rooster and Fireflies” 2016
Soda fired stoneware
Hallmarked studio collaboration between Zygote and Jessica Fong

There’s not much push back against the stance that maintains that the meaning brought to an image by an artist is less relevant than the meaning projected onto the work by the viewers themselves. 

The artist invites others to puzzle out a meaning by creating an open framework that’s suggestive of a narrative without spelling it out; it’s through the act of puzzling out a meaning that’s the experience is created. This is layered onto the tactile sensory experience of the object itself. 

A cliqued stance I know… but it’s a valid one. The engagement with puzzling out meaning is itself an experience. To do so while in the act of relaxing into a drink just adds to all of this… A layered sense of tranquil satisfaction.

“Rooster and Fireflies” 2016
Soda fired stoneware
Hallmarked studio collaboration between Zygote and Jessica Fong