Connie Norman
Connie Norman

Hayne Bayless- Plinth Gallery Artist Interview

 hayne bayless 1

This month Plinth Gallery Artist interview is with Hayne Bayless. Hayne is a hand-builder extraordinaire! Bayless constructs his work from slabs of clay and exploits the use of the extruder tool. A master of this forming device, he is able to construct intricate and elaborate shapes that so often defy ceramic convention. His show opens Friday, May 1 at Plinth Gallery in Denver.

Hayne’s website:

Plinth Gallery:

How did you become an artist?

After spending 10 years working for a newspaper I was ready to do something else. I’d had a serious fling with clay in high school and a year or two following, but I got distracted and went on to get a degree in journalism. The news business was beginning its downward spiral in the late 80s and by ’92 I thought I’d like to go back to my first love. I quit my job and started making pots.


What was it that made you want to start creating? Did something specific trigger it?

I think I’ve always felt the need to make things.


What is your inspiration for your pieces?

Contemporary studio work, old Japanese pottery, modern Japanese printmaking, colonial silver and pewter, Asian stenciled fabrics.


What keeps you motivated?

In some sense I guess it’s knowing that there will never be enough time to make all the things I’d like to make.


How would you describe your style? One of the hardest things for artists to do is to stand apart from everyone else. How long did it take you to come up with your own style and signature look?

I want my work to look old and new at the same time. I hope it’s both traditional and fresh. I want to put a new spin on ancient forms and themes. The style wasn’t something I consciously pursued, it pretty much came about on its own. I think it’s something that has to evolve naturally, organically. It’s a tough thing, but I don’t think it’s something you can force or try to make happen. It just does.


Are you a full-time artist? How do you come up with your creations? Can you walk us through your creative process when dreaming up new pieces?

Yes, full time. I’ve learned that keeping a sketchbook close is important. Ideas for new forms and techniques usually come up from my subconscious at odd times and if I don’t write them down immediately it’s like trying to remember a dream.


How do you maintain a healthy work and life balance?

I’m not sure I do. But I’m not a workaholic. If I can take time off from clay I do, otherwise I’m in the studio. I can only say I feel fortunate to be as busy as I am.


You, like most people enjoy the process of making and crafting and didn’t get into it for the sake of “business”. But eventually you found yourself having to make the transition from crafter to a businessperson. What have you learned so far and what advice can you give others in the same situation?

I have yet to make the transition to businessperson. It might not ever happen. There is, of course, a certain amount of office time that’s necessary, otherwise things would come to a grinding halt. But I hate it and put it off as long as possible, sometimes longer.


What advice can you give aspiring artists struggling to find their own voice and look?

I think struggling is perhaps the wrong approach. My advice, for what it’s worth, would be to make things that make you happy and try to understand why they make you happy. Try not to worry about what sells or doesn’t, or what other people are doing or not doing. Be fearless. Someone wiser than me said something like, “If you’re afraid of being wrong, you’ll never do anything original.”


Thanks Hayne for your words of wisdom!

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2 Responses to “Hayne Bayless- Plinth Gallery Artist Interview”

  1. Linda Starr Says:

    I loved his work.

  2. Linda Starr Says:

    I love his work.