(Home)(Gallery)(Price List)(Bio)(Studio)(E-Mail)

Ceramic Musical Instruments

Artist Statement
So what is a Bugle, anyway?

BUGLE: A brass-wind instrument with a cupped mouthpiece like the trumpet and usually without keys or valves, usually smaller, and having a shorter and more conical shaped tube. Used chiefly for military calls and signals. A hunting horn. To sound, to summon, to signal by or as by blowing a bugle call.

I have always been fascinated with musical instruments. After hearing of a rare brass instrument called the double belled euphonium I was inspired to join my 7th grade band class. Well, as you may well have predicted my school had no double belled euphonium, nor even an extra baritone, so I settled for a trumpet. I can't keep my hands off of an instrument, especially brass and wind instruments, and even more especially the rare and strange looking ones...and who was it that sang "two bells are better than one"? Many years later I was working with pottery when I got the crazy idea of making a double belled euphonium out of clay.

I have made stoneware and porcelain bugles since 1980. I take inspiration primarily from the wide range of brass instrument shapes. My bugles are the product of my fascination, which leads me to combining and inventing new designs. After all, isn't that just exactly what the double belled euphonium is? Although I make many standard and popular instrument shapes, some of my bugles are simply sonic experiments with tubing, chambers, colors, textures, and other altered shapes that would not normally be found in any instrument. Some of which have "bulbs", others have multiple bells, or even two mouth pieces, and have been known to produce a range of muted, modulated, or "gurgling" sound effects.

In most cases I intend my horns to play as bugles, exhibiting a harmonic series of overtones which can play bugle calls. My bugles are not made in a particular key, although rumor has it that an orchestra in Seattle once tuned it's self to one of my upright octo- oscillators for a mid summer night fugue performance.

My process involves extruded, slab built, wheel thrown, and some slip cast sections, which are assembled and high fired as one piece in most cases. My assembly process is not so unlike that used in brass instrument construction, with some obvious exceptions. I construct these bugles from solid colored porcelain clay. The tubing and other shapes are made of and decorated with inlayed and marbled colors of solid porcelain. The bells and mouth pieces are wheel thrown. The horns have a small corked spit valve, and they are glazed inside and out with a clear glaze which fuses to the colored porcelain clay. Provision is made for attaching a hanging strap to the top of each horn as well as a simple picture hook type hanger on the back, either method can be utilized for wall display. Horns are available with larger bell sections if upright display on a table or shelf is preferred. Any color combination may be specified, and of course I make them in any size or shape that you may desire. Even if you're not a bugler these porcelain horns are a lot of fun and make an exciting display. You don't have to play a bugle to enjoy one.

May, 2000