Chuck Pate

Iga Vase

It is my 5th birthday, and I am sitting watching my grandfather carefully apply his white face clown make-up. He has a box of carefully shaped sponges and paints of different colors. The process is tedious, but when finished, his face is distinctly his own. Now I am 16 and just bought my first car. My father opens his Snap-on toolbox, with the sign the says “Please don’t ask to borrow my tools.” We start to sand, shape, and straighten my “new” Malibu. The lines must be perfect before we can start to paint. 


Like my father and grandfather before me, I am obsessed with process. I reach into my bucket of tools to work the stoneware into shapes that are reflective of history but distinctly my own. The wood I chop, the days I stand in front of my anagama kiln, are imperative to the development of the surfaces that I call for in my work. Inspired by traditional Japanese ceramics, but informed by non-traditional artists, my sculptural and functional ceramics tell the story of the processes that bring them into being. My functional work demonstrates the classical shapes and lines of traditional wares. My sculptural work is more playful, inverting forms and capturing the movement of breath in solid clay. In all my work I am inspired by the perfect-imperfection developed by hand-building and atmospheric firing. With each piece I create, I hope to share this balance of beauty and imperfection with others.