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Glen Cutcher - June 2024

How and where did your art practice begin?

Art Hub's June 2024 Spotlight Artist, Glen Cutcher

In 1968, just before I graduated from high school, I purchased a special arts issue of Life magazine that changed everything, opening up the art world to me. I had never taken art classes or had a thought of being an artist in any way. And it was the first time that I went into an art museum. That really was interesting and intriguing to me and began to change the way I looked at art, and that it might be something that I could do in my life.

After 3 years of college and changing my major several times (from engineering to broadcasting to Communications), I needed to choose a minor. I decided that art, being something that I had never explored before would be interesting. Fortunately, I was able to get into the art department as a minor having no portfolio and never having done anything that I thought of as art. I had been doing some photography by then, just for my own pleasure, and started to look at some newer forms of art through exhibitions and articles in art magazines. I got intrigued with inflatable environments, building a few with projections and sound. As I started in the art department l learned I had to do learn to draw, learn about design and art history. This was not what I expected as I started off in this direction but it was interesting. I did a lot of video art and performance art and conceptual art and that’s where I started. I found when I started to work with clay that its materials were challenging.  I also found clay to have a conceptual edge to it, because especially in the beginning you never knew what the pieces were going to end up looking like because of the changes the materials make during drying, glazing, firing and in the whole process.

Now, after 50 years of doing art in one form or another, I can’t imagine doing anything other than clay and other forms of expression that I have become interested in over the years. I also never quite know where my ever-changing interests may take me.

Where do you draw inspiration for your forms and designs? 

Inspiration can come from just about any place. Much is from nature and forms that I see in the world around me. And the more art and design that I see, the more inspirations there are.

How do you plan your pieces and how do you decide when they’re finished?

Over the 50 years that I’ve been making pots I have created a set of shapes that I use as well as continuing to create new shapes. Before the bisque, I add simple line drawings to the forms. After the bisque, during the glazing process, I add the paper shapes that I have cut out to organize the patterns.  When my pattern process is completed, the piece is ready for the glaze firing. Even after all these years of experience I don’t entirely know how it’s going to actually turn out until after it has been fired. 

What draws you to your preferred medium? 

Clay seems to have a tactile quality that has felt comforting and intriguing to me from the first time I handled clay. Clay can take any form you want it to and that flexibility is something that I have always enjoyed. With that, I can take clay in whatever direction I choose.

Who were your mentors or what resources did you use to learn your medium? 

I studied at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo with Mark Hansen. Mark was the first person that I took pottery instruction from. He was an excellent glaze technician and taught me a strong sense of form. I’ve also read untold numbers of books and visited many museums and exhibitions. These have all contributed to my learning process in the history of clay. It seems you can’t make anything new, but you can combine things in ways that are new to you based on older forms.

What challenges does your medium or process present, and how do you adjust for or react to those challenges as they arise?

The variability and technical aspects of the clay process are things that really drew me to working with clay. You can have anything change, from the temperature you fire, to the clay body and glaze materials you use. Sometimes it feels you get to practically start from the beginning again. This is always interesting, but very challenging. 

What result can a finished piece or your process yield that makes you feel rewarded or proud?

It is always gratifying when things are flowing along during the creative process.  But they don’t always. So to learn to adjust to and solve the problems that the materials present is all part of the process.

I like pieces to have a nice calm quality. I’m never looking for perfection. I’m looking for the pieces that have a feeling that just draws you in and invites you to use them. Those are the pieces that I really like.

Are there any upcoming events or sales where can your work be purchased? 

The exhibitions and sales that I take part in are the Clay Collective Tour in the spring, the Midwest Fire Fest in the summer and the Earth Wood & Fire Tour in October. Otherwise, sales are from my home gallery. Give me a call and we can arrange time to get together.

What role do places like Art Hub play in having an art practice that is also a business?

Places like Art Hub provide people with a chance to experience art and become more acquainted with the arts and art process as well as become more comfortable with how the arts can integrate into their lives. It also puts me in contact with other artists.  It also gives me a vibrant space in my community to share my work.

You can follow Glen on Instagram @glensapotter, and visit his work in person at Art Hub.

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