CLAYMATION: Allentown artist Collin Cavote Tells Us How he Creates Something from Nothing

“Clay is very zen. You confront the reality that even your art is at times outside of your own control.” Collin Cavote

Sculpture artist Collin Cavote was born and raised in Allentown. His work uses organic, smooth shapes that take on human forms almost by accident. Other pieces look like soft, folded paper or ribbon, a juxtaposition as they’re made from hard clay.  His work has been featured and sold out of Loose Threads Gallery. We were lucky enough to have the chance interview him before he leaves for inspiring travels.

Read the INTERVIEW below.



When did you first become interested in sculpture?

After leaving business school, I went on a search for meaning. I took some courses locally: History, Astronomy, Geography and … Scultpure. Before this point my only experience with clay was an art class in high school. Within a few months, I was in love with the medium.

Where do you make most of your sculptures?

I have been working out of the Baum School of Art, on 5th and Linden St. in Allentown. I take the semesters class which grants me nearly unlimited studio time.

Can you explain how a sculpture goes from just the material you work with, to a piece of art?

Working with clay is a fasinating- at times nerveracking- process. Clay is unique in that you invest so much time into a piece of work, only to put it in a 2000 degree oven and cross your fingers. Clay is very zen. You confront the reality that even your art is at times outside of your own control.

I learned this lesson well while assisting a Japanese influenced potter in the mountains of Arkansas. The man created simple forms and ‘offered them to the kiln’. In such a manner, I create sculptures whose finishing touch is less a result of my control and more a product of the environment within the kiln. At first, I wanted to control every factor of my sculptures. Artists often have a image burned into their minds of what they wish to create. Getting away from this mindset wasnt very easy. Now though, appreciating the beauty of naturally unfolding events is what this is all about.

My clay comes in boxes which are filled with 25 pound cubes of clay. I take this material and begin rolling out long tubes- about 3 feet long (depending on the scale of the sculpture).

The method for creating forms which I use is ‘coiling’. Imagine rolling out a piece of dough, as if you were going to make a soft pretzel. Leave it on a flat surface and make a shape out of it. This becomes the base of your sculpture. Get another coil. Place on top of the base, attatch the two, and repeat. Repeat. Repeat. It is simple, meditative and allows for nearly unlimited forms. It’s also organic. I seldom start with an intention for its final apperance. The sculpture becomes self creating as I go. It requires an attentive eye, and a lot of trust in ones ability.

Where do you get inspiration?

I think for most artists, inspiration comes from absolutely everything. Anything which is part of our lives has the possibility of spurring some neourons in our mind… an idea! I do draw specific inspiration from the natural world, the human form and light.


Do you have a favorite piece of series?

My favorite series of peices, and the work which most reflects where I hope to go with my art, are my abstractions. These pieces follow the process I described above. They involve starting with no intention other than to create something. The forms are smoothly polished, curvilinear and more times than not, mimic a human element. As I am still very much in my infancy as an artist, I am thrilled to see what new directions are ahead of me.

Your work was for sale at Loose Threads Boutique. Is your work available to see or purchase in the Valley?

My work is not really on display right now. With leaving the country in a month, it is simply too much planning and energy to get work out. Please check out my clay blog. (Link below)


Is there anything about sculpture you wish more people knew?

I’d like to speak on behalf of Art as a whole. There exists a lot of stuffiness and over-intillectualism surrounding art these days. I wish people would realize that many artists make things simply becasue they love doing it. I spent a week this past March in Philadelphia at a ceramics conference. I was amazed at how people describe things… big words, abstract concepts and flaunting egos. What I want people to know about art is that it’s much more simple. It’s about people having a yearning to creating something. When other people find it beautiful, it becomes art.

You can see Collin’s work on his CLAY BLOG here: Creations in Clay

And read about his life and upcoming travels HERE: The Universe is One

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4 Comments

Filed under Allentown, Sculpture

4 responses to “CLAYMATION: Allentown artist Collin Cavote Tells Us How he Creates Something from Nothing

  1. Mary Lou

    Very nice pieces of clay!

  2. “I’d like to speak on behalf of Art as a whole. There exists a lot of stuffiness and over-intillectualism surrounding art these days. I wish people would realize that many artists make things simply becasue they love doing it. I spent a week this past March in Philadelphia at a ceramics conference. I was amazed at how people describe things… big words, abstract concepts and flaunting egos. What I want people to know about art is that it’s much more simple. It’s about people having a yearning to creating something. When other people find it beautiful, it becomes art.”

    Werd. I’ve been trying to say that for years now and you found the best words for it. YAY!

  3. Also I’m in love with your ceramics and I hope I have the chance to feel some clay on my hands again soon!

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