Don Hollis is a mechanical design engineer, botanist, ornithologist, naturalist, and now ceramic artist. He uses his life skills to create a unique art form, one from the natural world he lives in.
Don gathers and processes local raw “wild” clay from the Eocene period formations found at the surface in his area. He uses only hand building methods to form his work. Starting from a base with a pinched slab, he then coil builds his work to the top of the piece. The work is smoothed with a flexible rib as he goes. His sculptures are hollow with the wall thickness about a quarter on an inch. He develops and mixes his own glazes. The work is wood fired in a cross draft kiln using oak wood. Don does not use electricity for his craft, only his labor and the resources given to him by Mother Nature. It’s a uniquely “green” art form indeed.
Don’s ceramic adventure began as an experiment to learn how to make a simple bowl from the clay of a nearby creek bed. He made fast progress learning to perfect his technique and style. His art took a dramatic turn when he was introduced to the abstract sculptures of Kenneth Price. Free formed abstracts became his obsession. Bored with production and no longer bound by vessel symmetry, he enjoys making asymmetrical shapes, blending curves and incorporating the natural form of birds, plants and the female form into his work. Inspired by Picasso’s Cubism style, he blends sharp edges and facets with flowing sensuous curves to sculpt torsos.
Don is motivated and inspired by the work and critiques of fellow artists which drive him to create something new. He constantly challenges the limitations of his methods and materials. His work is designed and balanced with sensuous shapes and provocative abstractions to stir the imagination of the viewer. His goal is to trigger thoughts and emotions, like the ones that daydreams are made from.