Mark Pharis in his Minnesota studio.
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Mark Pharis

Mark Pharis is a Minnesota potter. His three-dimensional forms are handbuilt, using two-dimensional paper patterns. His process owes much to the traditions of patternmaking found in sewing and sheet metal work.  Mark began his career at the University of Minnesota with Warren MacKenzie in 1967, and after working as an independent potter for several years, began teaching in the Department of Art at the University of Minnesota in 1985. 


Vol. 33, No. 2, "Revisiting Function"
By any historical standard, those who make functional pots in the twenty-first century do so under circumstances that are very different from those of our predecessors.
I acquired my first electric kiln about thirty years ago. It had three switches, each with three settings, and a cone sitter - simple. I didn't trust the cone sitter but given all the other things in life that couldn't be trusted, the sitter's erratic behavior barely mattered.
I don’t think I’ve left functional pots. I think I want to see what the edges of functional pots are about. I know what the center’s about, but knowing what the edge is about is an ongoing experiment.