Form is everything; I stretch clay to make canvases for decoration.
Texture, pattern and color are successful additions when the shapes are impeccable.
My inspirations are many, from the classic forms of antiquity to the simple, graceful pots made by indigenous peoples and the work of modern studio potters. This current body of work deals with simple clean form. Handles and other flourishes are conspicuously lacking. Dramatic color and subtle texture accentuate what I hope is a mastery of the traditional vessel form.
Early experiences with clay as a child apparently left a mark. After school, apprenticeships and more school, making pots was, is and will continue to be a way of life for Nicholas Bernard. He has been a studio potter for nearly 30 years; living and working in Arizona for much of that time. His work as a professional has always been low fire earthenware. For many years, his Raku pots were shown nationally. The influences are scattered from the Southwest, Africa and Japan to the cultures of the Mediterranean. A museum full of 2000 year old pots in Rhodes was an epiphany. Simple forms with no contrivance or pretension filled room after room. He hopes to make one like that before he's done.
Seeing those pots 10 years ago started this current evolution. It began with soft muted colors, totally classic shapes. Amphora, ewers, and jugs with an ancient vibe. Then, textured pots with extravagant handles, spouts and flourishes using brushed color. Over the last 18 months the current work has evolved. Hot colors, simple closed forms with very controlled textures dominate.
The last piece finished today--good, bad or indifferent--is the product of doing the work for many years. These pieces can’t be made without those experiences, successes and failures, lots of failures. Even after 30 years, everyday in the studio for Nicholas is an adventure. He can’t wait for tomorrow.