I love the robust quality of domestic folk pottery from all over the world.
A pot's liveliness and history of use excites me. I feel the use of less refined natural materials lies at the heart of the rustic liveliness I admire. This, coupled with the potter’s respectful acknowledgment of a partnership with these materials, produces a beauty that continues to inspire me.
In 1991 Will Ruggles and Douglass Rankin of Rock Creek Pottery introduced me to folk pots and the use of local materials. Their teaching inspired me to realize that the elements which compose pottery are alive, and liveliness can remain and grow through use of a finished pot.
From 1993 to 1999, while a Resident Artist at Penland School of Crafts, I tested local clay and glaze materials with the help of enthusiastic potter friends Michael Hunt and Mike Henshaw. With generous help from Will Ruggles, we also analyzed the effects of using different types of wood (another prevalent local material) in our wood burning kilns. All this on-going research continues to be shared.
Feldspar and red clay are plentiful in Mitchell County. I utilize a portion of these as well as a local white kaolin clay, which is actually decomposed feldspar. Ashes from my home wood stove, which melt to a glass above 2000° F, are used as the primary flux in my glazes. Besides being beautiful to me, these materials -- accompanied with making clay and glazes by hand -- have helped reduce my studio costs.
The rich effects achieved by wood firing and the use of wild materials mixed with more processed ones, keeps me very excited about being a potter. Each kiln load varies and provides new information for the next.
I need to be engaged in all that goes into my work. I feel that my excitement for digging dirt and melting it will show in the final fired pots. Enjoy!