In the spring of 2015, Todd Pletcher invited me to be a guest at his stop on the Michiana Pottery Tour (MPT) the last weekend of September. The MPT route meanders south through the bottom of Michigan and crosses into Goshen, Indiana. I had met Todd during a week-long anagama-firing at Justin Rothshank’s the year before. The invitation was also extended to Troy Bungart and Steve Hansen, both potters I admired from southern Michigan. By 2015 the MPT had an excellent reputation, and it seemed that the Goshen area was quickly becoming a hotbed for ceramics.
Todd’s invitation was twofold: to bring my booth display and pots for the tour and to send bisque-fired pots ahead of time, which Todd would wood-fire the week before the tour. I had been following the construction of Todd’s new train kiln (designed by Ted Neal) and the prospect of firing it had me feeling like a kid waiting for Christmas morning.
My wife, Jill, and I talked over the pros and cons of doing a weekend show, ten hours from our Tennessee home. It was to be an outdoor show, so I would be at the mercy of the weather. I’d be traveling during valuable making time for upcoming holiday shows and online sales, and leaving behind the gallery Jill and I had just opened, halfway through an important solo exhibition. Ultimately, the idea of spending a long weekend with Todd and his partner, Anna, meeting new collectors, and being part of the MPT family won out over my doubts. I decided to be bold and gladly accepted.
After the bisque pots had been shipped, I began making pots and compiling a list of every conceivable thing I’d need for an endeavor this far from home: phone charger, credit card reader, bags of various sizes, promotional postcards, Sharpies, pens, receipt book, spare credit card reader, shims to level the booth, change…