Don Hollis

Artist Information

Don Hollis

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.

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