Amber Dorval, staff please visit my site to see some of my work  ClayInCommon.com

Meet The Potter:

Years in clay
I'm proud to say I have had clay somewhere on me since 2003.  Only recently have I had enough guts to officially call myself a potter. It feels good.

Why clay? 
Lots of reasons…
  1. The self progression- First of all you must know that I am a perfectionist by nature- I like to be challenged like to be extremely efficient in finding a solution.  I am also a ‘why person’ - I like to know why things happen and also how they happen.  The chemistry involved with working with clay satisfies the ‘why’ need, while the everyday working and constant learning keeps the crazy perfection desires in check.  I’m always questioning and always learning.  The lengthy process, physical work, trial and error, possibility of variation and element of surprise- all of that keeps me striving- keeps the fire burning (pun intended).
  2. There is something about the physical materials- about the earth- elements and minerals and rocks and dirt- the same iron in everyone's blood can be used to alter the color of a dish you’ll have in your cabinet…Blood is kind of a sick example…
  3. For everyone else. I'm inspired by the levels of connectedness of the people involved- In a really broad sense…potters have been potting for roughly forever – all over the world- in all different cultures- all going through the same process- using the same old dirt and turning it into something useful… I feel lucky to be a part of a bigger thing.  On a smaller scale, how a piece of my work may sneak into your day and provide an unsuspected bit of joy to an otherwise ordinary task.  I feel honored you might serve your best soup to your loved ones in a set of bowls I made.
Where did you learn: 
   I learned that I loved clay in high school at Blackstone-Millville Regional High School (‘00-’04).  I was taught how to throw by my high school teacher and a few VHS tapes. At that point, I  believed that I did not want to make art my job so I did not go to art school.  I would go to a state school until I decided.
   I learned that I wanted art to be my job when I was at Framingham State College(‘04-’10).  I took as many studio classes as I could manage.  I met some extraordinary professors of many different mediums, but all collectively supporting my goals.  At that point, I did not want to teach and I wasn’t sure clay was my medium. 
   I learned that I love to teach children and that clay was my medium at Concord Academy Summer Camp (‘10.) At that point, I wanted to open my own studio. I learned that I was not quite ready for that in 2011. So here I am at my newest place of learning : )

Favorite part of clay: throwing
Least favorite: 10 hour glazing marathons because I have again waited until the last minute!!!

When I’m not in the studio: I generally will be working the job that pays my bills. I would much rather be spending time with my friends and family.  I know that's really vague but...

What has clay taught me: Well right this moment, writing this(what I thought was just a quick filler outer kind of thing)  has taught me a lot about myself, where I’ve been, where I hope to be going and what I should either hang on to or just let go.

To be honest with myself…this wobbly pot is not because I wanted it that way, its because I’m just not there yet.  If I keep it up, I will get there.

Goal as a potter for yourself and for your work: I like to think, that maybe one day I will have a style and my work will be cohesive- but I don’t feel like its going that way.  I become interested in other techniques and kind of bumble along different paths.  My short term goal is to be able to combine the forms that I’m making now with my love of printmaking.
I would like to just get over my fear of art vs craft.
To make whats important to me and to own it.

Favorite potters and why: Well you see I am not very good at names- (I will be spending time in a really fantastic library so I will get to know some) but I can tell you some whys… I like object that possess one or more of these characteristics, depends on the piece and setting I suppose.
-Obsessive detail that appears to be effortless 
-Clean simple beauty
-A well cared for handmade quality that gives me a gist of the person who made it.
-I enjoy to be surprised by something I would never think of...something especially  clever
-An object that is clearly honoring the history and the process


Favorite clay quote:  “...I think of love songs in the same way I think of functional pots.  They can be dreamy or morose, war-torn or sensual.  Nobody’s really writing new love songs.  They’re all about the same thing, though sometimes coming from varying points of view.” - Mike Jabbur