P. Michael Quinn


As a boy I didn't realize that by gouging that first clump of clay from the local park's drainage ditch I was starting my first day of on-the-job training. Mud pies and plasticene eventually led to clay classes. Over the years my instructors provided me with rather polar approaches to clay, from the technical and controlled to the free and interactive.

Varied interests led to the wedging of ceramics, geology and biology, and eventually led me to produce and sell claywork through the "Dinosaur Dirt Farm", a studio that I began operating from my home in 1985. The studio is so named because the saurid forms were (and still are) sprinkled with "dinosaur dust".

I really like to play with form, and although I try to keep up production of past favorites and functional pots, new ideas are constantly swimming in my head, waiting to squeeze through my fingers into their pre-conceived forms, delicately manipulated or spontaneously blown into oblivious three dimensional shapes.

This "blowing-up" is not only fun to do, but is also symbolic of ideas about our constant transition through life. We putter along on our pleasant paths, and then, out of nowhere, "BLAMMO!". Things have changed. There seems to be many philosophies on how to handle change, whether or not the change is unexpected or inevitable. You know, like science and religion.

I try to incorporate my twisted versions of scientific explanations of change through the symbolic sprinkling of the dinosaur dust. If we think of ourselves as merely molecular beings relying on the interactions of positively and negatively charged particles for existence, we pretty much have to accept the fact that we are not much more than recycled atoms from previous forms of matter. I admit that I'm hung up on the concept that my particular molecules will eventually just end up as a foul smelling gas emitted by hungry bacteria, and that's fine with me. I just can't get over the beauty of this cyclic regeneration of energy and atoms, well, as long as an outside energy source exists, anyway.

So, I sprinkled the saurids with dirt from a geographic region that could, by random chance, contain an atom that passed through the body of a dinosaur. Just a symbolic reference to atom recycling. There is also some incorporation of our shared tendency toward extinction, like that of the dinosaurs. This concept came about in the mid 1980's, prior to the end of the Cold War and during the time of the 40th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. This was also the time of initial publicity of two theories: that of possible extended, devastating winters for human beings caused by atmospheric dust from the next nuclear war; and that the dinosaurs were similarly wiped out by an extended winter caused by atmospheric dust emitted from the impact of large meteor. I find it interesting that we are periodically presented with different forms of this meteor smashing media melee. I just hoped it was good for business.

Now, about the blowing up. On the religious side of the explanation of change, I continue to search for levels of existence, reality and meaning and such. Layers underlying layers, patterns upon patterns. Sometimes we might gently peel back the layers to caress our understanding of them, and sometimes we might be forced to understand too much at one time. Trauma.

Intricate relationships of natural patterns are being explored in a series of decorative vessel forms currently in development.

Thank you for taking the time to read this over. I do hope it provides some understanding of some of the things I am trying to accomplish in my life while attempting to also make a living and happy family.


Copyright © 1985+ P. Michael Quinn, Jr.
All photographs, text and designs are protected under copyright law.

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