Sneak Peek: As the Wheel Turns

April 7, 2011

By Jared Ainscough

In our upcoming May/June 2011 issue of New England Home we feature a skilled ceramist living and working in Worthington, Massachusetts. Mark Shapiro‘s pieces are sculptural and well-crafted, but what I love about them is the attention that Shapiro pays to his surfaces. Where an average ceramic artist would stop after the form and finish, Shapiro spends the time to hand carve and color the exterior of each piece. This level of detail adds a deep, sophisticated dimension to the work.

Photos courtesy of Mark Shapiro.

The erratic, emotional hand that carves each surface is both natural and controlled. It reminds me of loose handwriting that conveys feelings instead of words. It’s not hard to imagine Shapiro scratching away at his surfaces with a potter’s tool held in his hand like a writer’s pencil. Calligraphy and letterforms give way to swooping lines and shapes.

And once he’s finished, the pieces are fired and his writing is hardened into ceramic that will last an eternity–something most writers would kill for.