An architect with clay, potter Brian Bachman, takes a design-driven approach to his ceramics, though, he smiles and humbly admits that his favorite pieces of art in his home aren’t his own. By his front entrance sits a glass piece by Lesley Nolan, Kathy Wilcox’s enamels are prominently displayed outside his bedroom door, and Robin Rodgers’ pottery proudly sits in a display cabinet mixed with vintage and contemporary pottery. This balance between old and new work really comes across in Bachman’s collection of prized pieces by Julie Guyot that utilize vintage decals.
“Every time I look at them I’m just reminded of our friendship and collaborations,” said Bachman. “I remember where I was when I got a piece and that point when you put it up in your home and realize that it’s the perfect piece for that place.”
He strives to leave a similar impression with his own work both in hand building and throwing clay on the potter’s wheel. Bachman is inspired by form and shape in his ceramics. He might look at a tabletop and envision how it could be transfigured, turned upsidedown, and shrunken on a smaller scale to become an eye-catching platter. A member of the Tallahassee Clay Arts organization, Bachman revels in the opportunity to come out of studio isolation and bounce ideas, problems, and inspirations off other artists in a supportive environment. He’s looking forward to seeing Tallahassee’s immense clay talents highlighted in the upcoming Tallahassee Clay Arts Studio Tour. As a participant, Bachman will share a studio with the artists featured in his home, Nolan, Wilcox, and Rodgers, on the “Under One Roof” stop in Saturday-long tour, Nov. 19, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
As a potter, he sees a kind of timelessness in the work that is made and feels an affinity towards the makers of pieces whose work is now featured in museums. Whether it’s medieval European pottery, early American pottery, or a piece from another era, he shares a similar sentiment that somebody could pick up one of his own pieces in a thousand years and wonder about the person that made that piece.
“As potters we take mud and we turn it into something extraordinary,” describes Bachman. “You’re taking material that’s been buried in the ground for thousands or millions of years, subjecting it to heat and fire, and decorating it. I really think there’s a resurgence in longing for people to have interesting handmade work in their homes again.”
He takes in the energy from these art seekers at shows and considers it affirmation that what he’s done as an artist has spoken to them in some way. One of his favorite pieces has continued to speak to him: a pitcher that he considers to be as close to perfect as he probably ever made, a pot that was formed when he was still a high school student.
Bachman is a firm believer that early success when first learning a skill is a very strong motivator forcontinuing, and that is what has driven him as an artist. As a student at Rickards High School, he selected pottery for an elective thinking it would earn him at least an average grade. Now he thanks the school’s exemplary arts program for turning him onto a love for clay that would stay with him for the next 40 years.
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