In the digital age, potters can create completely handmade objects while taking inspiration and imagery from the industrial and digital technologies that are becoming more and more prominent. Potters have the opportunity to grow an ancient craft alongside today’s technologies. This is exactly what potter Shawn Spangler is doing with his work. His pots look borderline machine made, utilizing fine craftsmanship and different geometric shapes or forms to create great precision and robotic or inhuman reference. Just as things seem too stiff, there are gentle reminders that a human did make these pots. Glaze runs, pools, and drips lending the humanity and unpredictable nature that clay possesses to Spangler’s work. Amongst the industrial forms made up of tubes, lines, cylinders, pipes, and circles, there will be hidden parts of human shapes in a spout, ruffle, or lip rim. Just as the viewer may be lost in the coldness of such calculation, they are welcomed back in with these hints of Spangler’s hand.
Spangler adresses part of his experience as a maker, “Producing pottery is a kind of play; a regenerative act ripe with reverence, revealing the human hands enduring connection to creativity.”
Spangler is originally from Pennsylvania and received his MFA from Alfred University. He has been a resident artist at the Clay Studio of Philidelphia and at SanBao Art Insitute in China. He now lives in Hawaii where he teaches at the University of Hawaii and is a member of clay collective, Objective Clay. Spangler also has a collaborative body of work with Bryan Czibesz that incorporates 3D printing in clay with traditional hand-forming methods.