Born: Rutland, Vermont
Lives: Burlington, Vermont
Education: BA Studio Art, University of Vermont
My journey started in one of the least populated states in America, Vermont. A place where people are the minorities amongst livestock filled farms and lush vegetative forest. Everywhere you look you’re bound to see green mountains peeking out on the horizon. It was in these green mountains where I developed my connection to the arts. Deep in the woods of Vermont’s vast wilderness, I would find myself walking aimlessly, as time felt nonexistent. Even though my walks were aimless, my observations were thorough as I examined every corner of the land’s intricate scenery.
As I became more observant of my surroundings, the more I started to realize how complex our relationship with nature has been throughout history and in the world today. Many great authors and artists have expressed this inseparable bond which attracts us to the natural world. A bond that is hard to explain but is within all of us, even though many have bygone this relationship from our concrete walls. Our attraction to nature is why I think people are so attracted to art; both enticing our imagination and consciousness, “In our fine arts, not imitation, but creation is the aim... The details, the prose of nature, he should omit, and give us only the spirit and splendor.” (Emerson, Ralph Waldo. Essays First Series. H. Altemus, 1899.) Art and nature go beyond a delightful view, they are an insight to help us understand ourselves and the world around us. Whether it’s a scenic painting or a view on top of a mountain, we’re left wondering how this relates to who we are and how we are living.
Being drawn towards the natural world led me to an interest in naturally derived art materials, such as clay, wood, and metal. I found sculpting to be my preferred method of art-making over 2D mediums. I quickly became obsessed with clay, falling in love with the process and the naturalistic values which it holds. The more I threw on the potters wheel, the more unified I felt with this mineral-rich soil derived from the earth. Like the Green Mountains I grew up in, I knew there was a connection between me and the clay. Parallel to my walk in the woods, noticing every corner of its beauty, my mind was working in the same way as I was forming clay. A timeless serenity of concentration, at my wheel, letting the smooth gritty clay work through my hands, just like my eyes worked through the dense forest.
My work is all hand thrown on the wheel using ceramic stoneware. All pieces are fired in a gas kiln, to cone 10. I use a variety of handmade glazes, many of which are traditional wood ash glazes from Vermont wood. Along with the wood ash, I forage local Vermont clay that I decorate my pots with. You can see these slip designs through the wood ash glazes, making each pot a part of these green mountains. Everything is non-toxic, food, dishwasher and microwave safe.
When throwing on the wheel I keep in mind the naturalistic value that clay holds. From the shaping on the wheel to the decorating of slip and glaze, Vermont’s landscape is the main inspiration behind every piece of Britton Blanchard pottery. Creating pots is how I link the worlds of art and nature which Vermont brought to my life. To bridge the gap between my busy mind and the splendid countryside; the result is art capturing the essence of Vermont’s green mountains, my pottery.