Potter, Jim Etzkorn, has received numerous accolades and awards, taught and presented to groups around the world, and designed the dinner service for the G8 Summit in 2003, but his day-to-day motivation comes from the hope that his work will find a place in the regular lives and hearts of families for generations.
Etzkorn, who lives and works in Prince George, BC, said it is the chance that his work might become a treasured family heirloom that most inspires him to continue what he started 30 years ago.
“Like the exercises you might do leading up to a big race, the day-to-day stuff sustains me,” he said. “The contact with humanity is my affirmation. It’s not technological, it’s very personal, and it keeps me grounded.”
It was a connection with the pots of Asian history that inspired a style that he describes as “functional and decorative, utilizing traditional and contemporary forms, techniques and ideas”. Hypothesizing that he “might have been Asian in another life”, Etzkorn said he has always been drawn to the big, swelling shapes of Oriental antiquities and the primal spirit that seems to emit from them.
He draws further inspiration from other artists, nature, and the Asian concept of wabi-sabi– a Japanese world view or aesthetic centered on embracing transitions over results. For Etzkorn, the transitions involved in making a piece of pottery-each piece is handled 15 or 16 times-can be as satisfying as the piece itself.
“The process is long and there are no immediate rewards,” Etzkorn said. “But when I’m working, I am totally in the present-it’s like time stands still. That something beautiful can start as a lump of mud, is still amazing to me.”
Jim Etzkorn’s work can be found at Side Street Studio in Victoria. For more information visit http://www.sidestreetstudio.com/