HOMESTEAD / AUSTEN DIAMOND
Visit SLmag.com for more photos of Clark Marshall and his ceramics.
Left: A pot is a canvas for culinary art. Right: Clark Marshall
INTIMATE AND INTERACTIVE Y
our tongue will most likely never caress your custom-made cabinetry—or any of your home goods, for that matter. But pottery is different. “Pottery is an intimate and interactive craft,” says ceramist Clark Marshall. “It’s unique in that it interacts with different parts of your body—instead of just touching it, you’ll put it to your lips and tongue.” For this reason, Marshall pays a lot of attention to the textures of the mugs, cups, bowls and plates he creates. The dish the food is served on is part of the dining experience, so restaurants are paying more attention to how their tableware complements their cuisine. That’s why Chef Bowman Brown of Forage commissioned Marshall to create his tableware. “A goal of mine for Forage was for each piece to have its own texture,” Marshall says. “It’s subtle, but the sound that your silverware makes will be different while scraping across each piece.” The collaboration with Forage, which dates to summer 2013, led Marshall to create more minimalistic works, as compared to his gallery work,, which used text as a decorative element. The latter is something he began after studying in Florence, Italy, where a paleography class led him to develop a love for the look of ancient text.
S A LT L A K E M A G A Z I N E . C O M NOV/DEC 2015
But now the minimalistic goods constitute the bulk of his work. Marshall has been commissioned by area restaurants such as the aforementioned Forage, as well as Provisions, Naked Fish and Pallet. These pieces are unglazed, showcasing the color of raw clay exclusively. The point is to not be too loud to compete with the chef’s culinary artistry; it’s about creating canvases for their art. Since Marshall began studying ceramics in high school, he has striven to make art objects, which are to be admired, but also used. “I work within the parameters of functionality,” he says. “Ceramics is a neat endeavor that bridges two things: It’s a craft and an art,” Marshall says. “Then, when you take the pieces to the kiln and fire them, there’s an element of science.” This craft/art/science has kept him engaged for 17 years. Aside from creating, Marshall teaches art history at Utah State University and ceramics at Copper Hills High School. Foremost, he says, he wishes to teach his notion of permanence—a longsighted view of art and creativity. “There’s something about making a pot out of earth, letting it dry, adding colors, then putting it in a kiln: You kind of become Mother Nature or God or whatever,” Marshall says. “You are modifying this thing and creating something that’s permanent, something that will never be clay again.” CMCeramicArt.com
PHOTOS: AUSTEN DIAMOND
Clark Marshall’s pottery is as functional as it is beautiful.