My sculptures are serial progressions working with the intersection of form and surface. The sculptures are created through devastating reformation of the material. Fire melts and moves the steel where I need it to go. The forms resulting slightly resemble the steel in its original form. As I work with any material, I strive to find its possibilities and limits. The material teaches me what is possible. My tall, thin, steel sculptures are made with both a vase and a plant in mind; the result is both and neither. The surfaces, unusual and interesting, help invoke imaginary histories of the forms.


I work in series. The forms begin as shapes common to functional ceramic. I enjoy the fact that I make things that simply represent the functional, trumping the classical image of pottery and expanding the viewer’s expectation of clay objects. I have finished these shapes with surfaces that hint at an imagined history. I call this series ‘Comfortable Shapes’. The pieces, still life, if you will, are representative of shapes we are all familiar with, houses, bottles, jars. I’ll let the viewer decide how the work stirs their imagination.

– Robert Abrams

Sculpture and Pottery from the Wood Fired Kiln

The kiln my sculptures are fired in is a Japanese style kiln called an anagama. The anagama is a large, single chambered kiln fueled with wood. The burning wood not only provides the heat, but the ash, at high temperatures (2300-2400°F) melts onto the ware and becomes the glaze. We fire the kiln for about eight days, stoking the kiln every five to ten minutes to ensure not only the proper temperature, but to make sure that enough ash built up on the surfaces of the ware. The surfaces vary, depending on the the amount of iron in clay body (Stonewares have more, porcelain very little). Variations in the surface also depend on where the sculpture is in the kiln, and the shape and surface texture of the piece. While it is possible to fire this kiln to get shiny, smooth surface for functional pottery, the crew I fire with prefers these rougher surfaces that are less common, and more appropriate for sculpture.