"I remember the summer of 1958 in St. Missouri when I was 5 years old watching the city sewer company with their massive bulldozers digging up the earth and the clay to lay freshly extruded salt fired clay sewer pipes. I remember the sunlight on the glistening glazed surface that the sodium created and the beaded texture I felt as I rubbed my hands across its surface. The color reminded me of root beer with white speckles that reminded me of stars.
Pete Volkous was already acclaimed in the art world for his pioneering breakthroughs. It would be 15 years before I would meet and work with Pete in Morrison, Colorado by Red Rocks Park in 1973. When Peter and I met we bonded in heart and mind and he adopted me as one of his many art children over his lifetime. We shared everything over the next 20 years. I loved him dearly and he watches over all of us now sitting with the angels. What I admired most of all about Peter was his courage, faith and love for the journey. When he left that workshop in 1973 he showed me the circle that he drew on the bottom of his work and told me that one day I would someday put the circle on my work. The circle represents the Universe. It took me 30 years to understand what he given me in friendship, love and honor but most of all in the spirit of God.
My work is all about each word that describes the beauty, wonder and majesty of life in our walk each day with the Almighty and all that is therein. The clay, the earth, the sun the minerals, the colors of our transitions and the eternal process of our existence."
Always making and forever giving… With love, Jeff Whyman
Whyman was born in St. Louis in 1953. He delights in remembering himself as an awed child watching the Gateway Arch being built, and he tells stories of his near simultaneous discovery of fossil shells, of clay that he could shape with his hands, and of fired clay in the form of salt-glazed sewer pipe being laid in his neighborhood.
Shells and ceramics continued to be his interest in high school. In college, he struggled to make a choice, first studying marine biology in Miami and then studying ceramics at the Kansas City Art Institute.
He also fell under the influence of his teachers and of Voulkos, and he is loyal to those individuals. He and Voulkos had in common their first art expression being painting, their discovery of a feeling for clay, and their move to metal sculpture as a means to larger scale. It was Voulkos who urged Whyman to return to clay after years of concentrating on steel. Janet Koplos 2013
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