Gillan Doty was raised in the Northeast, spending time in both the Adirondacks in New York and the Monadnock region of New Hampshire. Gillan discovered clay in high school and went on to receive a BFA in Ceramics from the Maine College of Art in Portland, Maine. After graduating he was awarded a year long residency at the Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis, MN. Following his time at NCC, Gillan relocated to western North Carolina where he was an Artist in Residence at Odyssey ClayWorks in Asheville. Recently, Gillan has set up a new studio in Asheville where he is currently working. His experiences in the northeast, midwest, and now the southeast have all greatly influenced the work he is currently making.
I draw inspiration from a number of sources. Although not makers themselves, my family set a precedence on certain things we interacted with on a daily basis. This could be a hand carved mask that my grandfather got on a trip to Guatemala or the handmade crock that three generations of Doty’s have made pickles in. My grandfather was a collector and curator who specialized in photography and folk art. There was something about the simplicity in his collection that captivated me even as a child. He was particularly drawn to early American salt glazed work from the North and South East. I can vividly remember playing around these objects, but it would have been impossible to know what an impactful effect they would have on my studio practice all these years later.
This early introduction to folk art in particular formed the connection to the work I would discover later on my own. I love historical and folk pottery from all different cultures, most notably Asian, European, and the early American pots I came to admire at a young age. There is a vitality that is carried on in these objects from the hands that made them, and I believe that human connection to our predecessors is a powerful force.Along with my strong affinity for folk art, I am also inspired by primitivism, vernacular architecture, and the natural landscape we live in. I believe that all of these ideas are rooted in a similar place; simplicity, practicality, and functionality. These are such simple concepts, but at the same time are incredibly complex. My work attempts to address ideas relating to our humanity and our engagement with objects in life. When I am in the studio, I am always aiming to create something new that is accessible while still possessing deeper connections to the world around us and the people who inhabit it.