“There is a softness and warmth about the ceramic vessel that carries with it every touch of the potter and the mark of the flame”. – Eric Botbyl.
As I am getting to know Eric a little more, I am learning about a person that is in love with life itself. As he describes his fond memories of his wife’s pregnancies, to the swollen ripeness of an orange, just to compare it with a swelling seed, whether it is a human life or a seed about to bust open, I see the swelling roundness of a ball of clay which grew from the potters' wheel and opened into a hollow swelling object. Eric addressed not only the romantic part of working with clay but there is the practical side before the making. He refers to it as heavy lifting, grunting, cutting, wedging, and sweating. Then there is the stage in which the vessels that were made must become an object that represents some thoughts, in which the piece itself will hold the history of its making from formless to object, a vital element of his work. This is the time when Eric highlights and preserves the clay history of the object with texture, coloring, retexturing and finally glazing and firing.
The hard labor of a craftsman and the pleasures and hardships are intertwined always walking side by side, but when Eric Botbyl presents his works of art there is no doubt that Eric has a passion for clay and life itself. During his presentation at the MSClayworks 2023 in Tupelo, the 2nd Clay Conference in Mississippi, he will use the language of form, line, texture, contour, surface, gesture, color, and touch to convey his message. Using the pottery wheel as a tool, he will form objects which, not by his invention, but by the inventions of potters throughout the ages inherited human anatomical names. Potters talk about the body, the lip, the neck, the shoulder, the belly, and the foot, and often the bottom. The last one is often a term that can let potters erupt into laughter, depending on in which sentence it is used. Eric will use several techniques, to alter, build, and reconstruct wheel-thrown objects, while communicating his ideas to the pottery audience.