ceramicist, glass artist, geologist, educator
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For this issue, we interviewed Alan Spencer, whose career has ranged from field geologist to professional artist to arts educator. Spencer has found a way to incorporate his lifelong love of geology into his current series of stoneware vessels, Strata in Clay. The pieces were created to represent examples of fossils preserved in rock strata in the each of the 12 geologic time periods during the past 500 million years. Spencer currently works as a ceramics and sculpture instructor for Worthington City Schools. His most notable works include stained glass window installations at the Methodist Theological Seminary of Ohio and the Delaware County Public Library.
“Geology and ceramics have both been passions of mine since I was young. In the Strata in Clay series, I wanted to combine both of these passions and explore how our geologic history could be portrayed through a series of decorated vases. Clay seemed to be a perfect material to work with to create this series. Clay is a material that is produced through the natural erosion process and weathering of rock strata. The earth constantly recycles and rebuilds surface layers. As sand, silt and clay weather away from older deposits, new layers of sedimentary material form, and occasionally an organism gets buried between the layers, creating a fossil.”
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