JOSHUA JAMES FREEMAN

Joshua was born and raised in Clearwater, Florida and chose to attend UCF for Engineering. His interest shifted over into Architecture, which led him to take several art classes. He first started working with clay in 2005 out of casual interest in art school and quickly became consumed with every aspect of the art form. He enjoys creating installations, sculptures and even functional work, each one posing unique challenges. He believes Ceramics is a beautiful convergence of science, architecture, and art. We use clay in so many applications throughout the world but often do not even realize it.
Clay can make a perfect replica of something but at the same time it can be unrepeatable. It can withstand incredible stress and has immense strength, and yet it can be so fragile and irreparable. It can provide clean water in third world countries and help us fly space missions. It is these unique features of clay that begin to define his obsession of clay and why he wants to share this passion with others. He began teaching in 2011. He currently teaches Ceramics and AP 3D Design at Olympia High School in Orlando, Florida. At his core he is compelled to create meaningful artwork that explores the human experience in the hope that viewers will be challenged to live purposefully. He believes it is important for a viewer to walk away from an installation and have a special memory that they made there that they share with others and remember for a long time. He wants his work to be a catalyst for the viewer to leave touched in some way.
The issues that are central and drive his work are faith, conflict, history, and irony. He starts with faith because it has always been a part of who he is and how he was raised; it is foundational in much of his work. Next, he believes that through conflict we discover what we are capable of and without it, we become, as Roosevelt describes, “those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” Furthermore, although he despised it in school, history fascinates him and provides endless inspiration. Finally irony; it exists in both tragedy and success and it seems to have the best and worst timing. Irony is the blunt reminder that we really don’t control much of anything in our lives. otters have the pleasure of working with the world’s oldest and universal art medium. Shards of ancient pottery tell us about the lifestyle and culture of a people long lost. Not much has changed in pottery-making over a few thousand years, and yet it seems that humans continue to find new uses for clay everyday.
From homes to toilets, water filtration, spacecraft parts, sound amplification, teeth, wedding rings, prosthetics, hair straighteners, and a plethora of others, there are few things that clay cannot do. There is a certain confidence one can have with their expectations for results from an electric or gas kiln, or even in a salt/soda kiln. The glaze is carefully chosen and applied for a certain look or effect. The difference with wood-firing kilns is that the potter takes a somewhat masochistic approach toward the unexpected that requires loads of patience, observation and hope. All of the hard work can be negated by one small oversight while managing a box of fire energy that reaches nearly 1/4 the temperature of the Sun’s photosphere. Nonetheless the joy and amazement from a successful firing proves priceless and a worthwhile investment of time and effort. In an anagama (Japanese for “cave kiln”) wood firing, many months are spent making enough pottery and splitting enough pine and oak to prepare for the 7-10 day firing. An experienced team of potters is required for around the clock stoking of wood. The door is sealed and the firing begins; by day three the kiln is close to the prime temperature (between 2200-2350 deg F) and is maintained for the days ahead with constant stoking and strategic influx of the internal temperature. After a final stirring of the coals and taking it to about 2400 deg F, everything is sealed up. The kiln must be slow-cooled over several days to allow the natural ash glaze to mature, form crystals and to prevent any cracking. Most commonly, no pre-glaze is used in wood firing. The vessels receive all of their color and texture from ash that flies throughout the kiln, which then melts and sticks to the pieces between 2200-2400 degrees Fahrenheit. Every firing produces unique results.

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