Each MNO piece is handmade, start to finish. Hand-built, hand-thrown and hand-glazed by the artist, no two are the same. MNO wouldn’t have it any other way.
A serial tinkerer with a wide DIY streak, Darren is obsessed with glaze experimentation, pioneering thousands of techniques and finishes. Along with imported minerals, he uses local potash, silica, shale and granite in his vast repertoire of glaze recipes. No purist, he also plays with non-traditional surface treatments like silicone, spray paint and metal.
The whole process of making matters as much to him as the final work. MNO digs clay, literally, heading to secret spots to forage for raw, local earthenware. In these works, he leaves in twigs and stones, so-called impurities that make things a little unpredictable – just like him.
MNO experiments with temperatures, fuel sources and atmospheres to activate the elemental alchemy of ceramics, transforming mud and minerals into beautiful, lasting objects through the application of fire and air. Once or twice a year, at his Creek House studio, he fires up the wood-burning kiln he built from salvaged materials and second-hand bricks. Opening that kiln after a firing is like Christmas morning. Better.
MNO’s love of problem-solving extends to his forms, which he is always evolving, subtle morphs whose recent riffs include rough rims, elongated vessels and rounded bottoms. He tweaks classical ceramics elements, blurring the line between sculpture and function. Alongside his art pieces he continues to produce beloved production lines, including the cute characters of his Whimsical series and the clean lines and muted shades of his Japanesque collection.
A true read about craft:
Posted on September 8, 2017
Maine furniture maker, Peter Korn goes on to say,“Craft is especially fulfilling since its materiality anchors the craftsman’s understanding – the stories, ideas, and beliefs through which he structures his identity, organizes experience, and makes decisions in reality” It is in this reality, that the craftsman creates an object that “embodies” meaning, or a sense of “spiritual continuity.” A handcrafted object carries meaning that a mass-produced object could never possess.