Jeff Whyman - 'Embracing it All.'
Whyman was born in St. Louis in 1953. He delights in remembering himself as an awed child watching the Gateway Arch being built, and he tells stories of his near simultaneous discovery of fossil shells, of clay that he could shape with his hands, and of fired clay in the form of salt-glazed sewer pipe being laid in his neighborhood.
Shells and ceramics continued to be his interest in high school, and in college he struggled to make a choice, first studying marine biology in Miami and then studying ceramics at the Kansas City Art Institute.
He also fell under the influence of his teachers and of Voulkos, and he is loyal to those individuals. He and Voulkos had in common their first art expression being painting, their discovery of a feeling for clay, and their move to metal sculpture as a means to larger scale. It was Voulkos who urged Whyman to return to clay after years of concentrating on steel. Janet Koplos 2013
The clay vessels here are made from high fire stoneware and porcelain clay bodies created from different parts of planet Earth.
Incorporated and slammed into the still wet ‘hand thrown’ wheel constructions are raw metal oxides, minerals, crystals and sea glass as well as the wood ash from various trees. After complete drying the work is slowly once fired to temperatures of approx. 2375 F, allowing the fire to patina and flash the clay surfaces with carbon trapped and salt filled tongues of lapping flame.
The firing takes place over 2 to 6 days depending on the size of the kiln. The kilns are fired with either wood or gas reduction methods and in some instances sodium is added at the end of the firing.
The pieces were fired in gas, soda, wood kilns throughout the US and China. Collectively these processes and techniques produce the effects and finishes seen on the vessels in the book. Enjoy and God Bless.
With love, Jeff Whyman.