D. Langford Kuhn
MS/Crafts, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, 1978
BA/Fine Art, Valdosta State College, Georgia, 1970
Sometimes I dream a piece, but most often, inspiration is as close as the pond across the way where the singing lilies grow. I go there in the dewy morning, when it is still, and green, and lovely. I listen to the stories of the great blue heron, stories of the willows and the reeds, and stories that only the mockingbird can tell. Living near the Suwannee River in north Florida, I am enchanted by the abundance of wildlife and the diversity of plants. The lushness and the wildness of the region is fertile ground for my imagination. Rooted in tradition, my work grows out of my love of color and decoration, my endless fascination with details. Through the fluid language of the vessel, the illusory aspects of painting and the jewel-like qualities of porcelain, I celebrate the visual opulence of life in nature.
The vessel is my canvas, a place of feelings expressed through descriptive imagery and vivid color. I paint what I love: the fireflies on a summer night, the blossoms in the rain. I paint the mockingbird singing in the moonlight and I paint the wildflowers that spill by the roadside. Color is the heartbeat, pulsing and pulling the eye over and around the swelling blossom-like forms. Most pieces are small enough to comfortably hold and since the painting cannot be read from any one perspective, you must pick it up to fully appreciate it. As you slowly turn it, you experience the physical intimacy of holding a small object and, at the same time, the visual intimacy of a flower up close. My work connects me to the richness of the earth and the poetry of distant stars - I just gather the loveliness and pass it on.
In the winter, I spend several weeks throwing and trimming pots and in the spring I begin painting and firing. I work on one piece at a time and each piece is different. When I begin a painting, I donít know where it will take me. As one image grows the next, I discover the story as I am telling it. Using tiny brushes, I apply commercial underglazes to the smooth white surface of a bisqued pot, gradually building up layers of color. I try to be as accurate as possible as I hold the pot and paint the flowers - one petal at a time. After completing enough pieces to fill my kiln, they are low fired, clear glazed, high fired to cone 10, embellished with 22 karat gold luster and low fired to cone 019. It is my hope that these pieces will reflect the love and the joy of the making and serve as reminders of the power of nature to replenish the human spirit.