May 1, 2022
Most people who move to Silicon Valley for work do so to work in technology; I moved there to teach ceramics. While many of the tech firms here have built their business models around the buzzy ideals of "disruption," I, too, feel a kinship with a model that pushes up against norms and creates new models of looking at the world, or in my case, mugs. My version of disruption is not about maximizing corporate profit; it's about finding new ways to see familiar objects.
May 1, 2022
Centering is a lifelong discipline that demands consistent practice, which is akin to spiritual practices across many world cultures. I've always taught wheel-throwing by emphasizing the tangible and physical parts. Method, form, and position need to become habit. In Japan, I always tell students, it is said you are not yet a potter until you make your first 1,000 pots. This adage is a commitment we make to ourselves about what kind of life we want, and it is a foundation for me.
Special Release. Studio Potter brings you the latest article from Ukrainian ceramic artist Oleksandr Miroshnychenko.
"I photographed this on the first day of the war. Now the  black funnel covers all of Ukraine" - Oleksandr Miroshnychenko
March 18, 2022
On February 24th, at about five o'clock in the morning, we were awakened by the sounds of explosions. As the sun rose, the smoke from the explosions became visible. FREE ARTICLE!
Richard Zane Smith, "Stomp."
April 1, 2022
Pottery wasn't made when there were threats of war and bloodshed. When examining ancient sherds and tool marks, one can sense the kind of peace and calm that it took to make long, unwavering parallel lines, to notch the rims with careful repeating indentations, and to spend the time making what was to become more than a simple container. It was a life-providing vessel used to feed the next generations.
March 1, 2022
On December 26, 2021, I held my breath as I dialed her number, hoping she would be satisfied and feel the pleasure of completion I was feeling. She laughed and said, "They are all done." We shared the joy of feeling the fulfillment of her artistic dream. We talked about each sculpture and admired them, and I made sure they were what she wanted. We talked about her upcoming birthday party on February 5, where I would help her present them to the last two-family groups.
March 1, 2022
The conference theme, Fertile Ground, references California's agriculture and the Farm to Fork movement, acknowledges the abundance of clay in the state, and celebrates intergenerational artistic growth spawned through academic programs and community art centers. We kept working on these projects and more while remaining hopeful that the Sacramento conference would indeed take place in person in 2022. Rallying the involvement of artists, galleries, and other art venues that were new to NCECA was a highlight. I encouraged their exhibition ideas, supported their inquiries, and fostered their participation in one of the largest art events to ever take place in the Sacramento region. FREE ARTICLE!
March 1, 2022
Make more art. That is what I thought I could do if I helped fellow potters ship their artwork. I'd save them money, they could buy more supplies and make MORE ART. That simple phrase ended up taking me on an exciting and life-changing journey. Today, for example, I have an artist that built their Uline crate inside their house only to find it is too large to pass through their doorway. Oh, those darn details.
January 3, 2022
Tattooing sings many notes parallel to the song of ceramics. Like ceramics, tattoo craftmanship exposes the fluency and experience of the maker. Drawing and putting in a great line is an example of fine craftsmanship. Pairing exceptional line work with the individual’s conceptual engagement of image elevates the craft, just as the potter’s concept of a mug elevates the form.
December 1, 2021
Being an apprentice has humbled me in understanding again what is to be a beginner, what it feels like to not know everything, to make mistakes and to learn from them. I see the apprenticeship is teaching me lessons that are helping me become a better human being.
‘On Earth, time is marked by the sun and moon, by rotations that distinguish day from night that had led to clocks and calendars. The present was a speck that kept blinking, brightening, and diminishing, something neither alive or dead. How long did it last? One second? Less? It was always in flux; in the time it took to consider it, it slipped away.’ - Jhumpa Lahiri "The Lowland"
October 1, 2021
Every risk has added to my development as an artist and human being. It’s the little things, the fragments of the journey, that make the destination that much more fruitful.
October 1, 2021
I looked her dead in the eye as I resentfully told her, “I will never be a potter.”
September 1, 2021
I’m speaking for myself; [Chicano] resonates with me and gives me a sense of belonging I couldn’t find before.
August 1, 2021
Awake and distraught. Rather than charging, my phone has drained to a dim 2%. I remind myself that I’m not superstitious. By 9:30 AM, I’m fully set up, my power bank, phone, and Square are all communicating. I find some courage, hang my sign. Ready.
July 1, 2021
“When I get to be by myself with the kiln and be in the process of it, I feel like I can hear my thoughts a little better. I have time to hear my responses to what's going on with the fire. What an amazing thing to try to learn. The whole experience, the sound, the sight, the physicality of it, and the sky, having to be outside – I think I fell in love with a squirrel once. There is so much quiet and so many opportunities to pay attention... That’s just such an amazing gift.” -Meredith Kunhardt
July 1, 2021
My family’s story has been one of resilience and hope, of making the most from the least, and of appreciating the smallest of things.
June 1, 2021
An intimate sense of materials allows a place to influence my work and to fix the unique nature of a place into my memory.
May 1, 2021
I found a bat with her handprint on it. It was a bit uncanny – just how perfect it was. I keep it right above my wheel, leaned on a little ledge of brick. She was and will forever be fundamental to my connection to pottery. I know my grandmother would be proud of the potter I am today.
May 1, 2021
She apparently needed us, but so did we need her. She was earthbound, and, like us in our pandemic prison, unable to go far. But if she could break free, then perhaps so could we shed ourselves of this hermetic existence and return to our kettle.
My dreams enabled a strong sense of empathy and openness to different ways of thinking. They have fueled a fearless, and sometimes reckless, desire for new experiences. They have allowed me to visualize possibilities and embrace opportunities.
March 1, 2021
The time away from career obligations has allowed my thoughts to freely wander from present to past to future.
January 4, 2021
A kiln lies at the center of this story, a brick arch built on a concrete slab next to a needing-to-be-painted red barn.
December 1, 2020
"I don’t think we can escape the complexities of our history. My small life experience can be extrapolated in any direction to encompass many different stories and people from all over our country and world. Our human histories are woven, complex, and blurry."
December 1, 2020
"My worldview as an artist has grown and changed. I no longer think of art in terms of craft, livelihood, discipline, practice, or process. Art is BISQUE. Believe, Include, Sustain, Question, Understand, and Evolve; I am all this."
December 1, 2020
"As I interpret it, Keats’s idea speaks to the endeavor to share a vision of artistic beauty even when it leads to intellectual uncertainty. True beauty lies in ambitious uncertainty. Negative capability encourages artists to boldly explore a world of uncertainty – a world where there are no clear-cut distinctions. This is a world where authentic work can be done."
November 1, 2020
"I may start with some ideas and questions, but the wisdom is in the soil, just like the wisdom is in the clay. This properly humbles me, reminds me what my capabilities are, what my limitations are, and how generous the material is, how fortunate I am to continue exploring."
November 1, 2020
“I think anybody can get really good at anything they’re interested in at any age if they have a good mentor and spend enough time doing it.”
Animal Bowl, "Paul", 2009. Anagama-fired dark stoneware. 7 X 14 x 10 in.
October 1, 2020
...take leaps of faith to experiment, during this time while no one is around to watch.
October 1, 2020
In the year of the suffragette centennial, a passionate collector lifts up women ceramists and considers the aesthetics of her holdings against the backdrop of her quarantine garden, "As often as I have the opportunity, I proclaim it time to aggressively advocate for the commitment of art institutions, collectors, schools, and professional associations to support women clay artists..."
September 1, 2020
Studio Potter dedicates this story to all the teachers and students returning to the studio classroom this fall, whatever that may look like for you.
August 1, 2020
“What is normal to the spider, is chaos to the fly.”
August 1, 2020
The kiln temperature was crawling past 2100 degrees Fahrenheit and we were running out of wood. It felt like we weren’t going to make the last two hundred degrees.
July 1, 2020
I thought it was important to see Black folk dancing, loving, teaching, and playing on pots, because I felt our life and joy was not something you expect to see on pots with depicted narratives.
June 1, 2020
I have defined happiness as being at peace. I am at peace with myself while working on my sculptures in the studio. All life’s problems are still in my mind, but working in clay puts them in pause. I feel excited, productive, and with a purpose in life, but in these uncertain times the connection to my artwork feels different. Baking sourdough bread has become another way to be at peace with myself.
May 18, 2020
In sharing my story of managing depression as an artist, I intend to break down some of the isolation caused by trauma ... and reveal how well-being and creativity share a symbiotic relationship.
May 18, 2020
Seeing the problem of woodfiring’s lack of exposure and accessibility to the general public, I set out to find a solution that provided engagement in this immersive experience to my immediate community.
May 18, 2020
The connection between ceramics and food came with just a four-letter word: salt.
May 18, 2020
Light streamed into the dimly lit world of my convictions, and with it, in time, came myriad possibilities...
April 27, 2020
“The Cup Library was created by students and faculty working with the Ceramics Apprenticeship Program as a creative response to a perceived community understanding of functional ceramics as an economic commodity.”
St. Croix Valley Pottery Tour  Jan McKeachie Johnston, Mike Helke, Naomi Dalglish, Randy Johnston, Linda Christianson, and Lisa Buck.
April 27, 2020
Pots come to life when they are in use at the table and kitchen sink. The story of how pots come to us and worm their way into our lives can be an added bonus.
April 27, 2020
Un-Broken, the essay, is a record of myself and an offering to my family while I am alive.
April 27, 2020
Writing a new book is like a new love. Initially, you find yourself infatuated. You can’t stop thinking about it, and you feel driven to talk about it. But the more you do, the more you see your family and friends’ eyes glaze over, and you decide it would be better for your real relationships if you divert your talking to writing.
March 24, 2020
At a very early age, I was orphaned and placed into the closed adoption industry. In 2018, I was able to secure my true identity. My studio practice has been the key to building a bridge to my past while constructing a future with the family I thought I had lost forever. For all those non-believers out there, it turns out that art does have the power to change lives. It certainly did mine.
March 24, 2020
Being on a platform; as, kind of, the token transgender individual in the clay community takes its toll. When I lectured at NCECA in 2017 on the panel "Gendered Clay," I had no idea what would happen. I could only tell my own story. I thought it was worth sacrificing my anonymity.
March 24, 2020
"I have been a student of the possibilities of the materials ... So many variables, so many decisions to make, and so many opportunities to make them. You learn failure is a part of success. Just like not every play will work as drawn out on paper, not every pot will make it through the process as desired, but each time you learn something that feeds into the next attempt. You are playing the law of averages. If you keep at it, something will start to work out."
A dinner set for poet Mary Ruefle’s April 2020 reading at UMass Amherst has as a centerpiece a plate set inspired by her short prose piece “Old Immortality.”
February 24, 2020
This past fall, I needed to learn how to make plates. Specifically, plates similar in form and decoration to those from Staffordshire, England, in the early 1800s.
November 27, 2019
Many of the challenges we are facing are not that different than those our mentors dealt with in academia. The next generation is becoming responsible for continued reshaping of the field, as they strive to uphold the standards and beliefs of our predecessors, while also trying to adapt to an ever-changing culture.
November 27, 2019
If Bernard’s Leach’s A Potter’s Book was the old testament for many aspiring studio potters internationally, Daniel Rhodes’ Clay and Glazes for the Potter was the new testament for those living in North America.
November 27, 2019
Pottery often has a relationship to its environment, from the wild clay potters of North Carolina to regional aesthetics like the ubiquitous Minnesota brown pot. Like most people these days, potters are also concerned with climate change.
When students rush into the classroom in the morning, beaming with excitement about a new technique they saw on Instagram, something good is happening. They are hooked on ceramics and fully engaged in the process.
It was maybe 10 years ago that I was talking with a book editor who asked what I was working on. I told him, but then said, impulsively, that what I wanted to do most was a book on functional pottery.
Ray Brown. Low Pitcher, 2018. Soda-fired stoneware, flashing slip, black underglaze, glaze. 2019 NJSE Merit Award. Photo by SP.
September 19, 2019
There is satisfaction in developing the best iterations of a form, creating an aesthetic harmony among them, and making decisions that fulfill my desires for their function as utilitarian objects.
The Lugos - Roberto, Ashley, Theodore, and Otto, 2019. Photo courtesy of the author.
July 19, 2019
I come from a large family: fifty-seven first cousins, and each of them have children of their own. Early on, I knew that I wanted to be a father—apart from my knack for the ill-advised pun.