Brad Travis The Fencerow Ceramic vessel with metal protrusions, 2006 Selection: The Fencerow
I grew up in the rural countryside of Spirit Lake, Iowa, watching my father work the land from corn to beans in an annual cycle. I watched neighbors work their own land changing the ground to fit their needs. I watched the fencerows stand still, dividing the routines that were occurring on either side, while the routines of nature between them were ignored. With only a memory of grazing herds I have since observed fencerows growing ever smaller until they are ripped out in search of more ground to continue the farmers cycle.
Upon reading James Hearst’s The Fencerow I felt an inherent connection to words that were flowing from the pages. It made me recall my observations from my earlier ages. I began to play with the form much like a farmer would; ripping the clay like a plow, digging into it, mending it, pushing and pulling the clay to my likings, smoothing it, adding to it, and picking at it like a farmer walking his field in search of weeds. It was then that I left it alone and put it into the fire forgetting about it; letting the nature of the flame form it. It was then that the fencerows emerged; some obvious and others barely noticeable to the passerby and only a memory to me.