Over the Hills and Through the Woods

In the hills of the New York's Hudson Valley, hidden deep in the woods, potters lead secret lives. Their houses are full of precious things; things made by hands, things collected from the earth. Entire lives woven together by a deep love of process and reverence for craft and the natural world. These artists have carved out enchanting spaces, full of whimsy and wonder. 

For each visit, my faithful Subaru and I travel over the hills and through the woods. Winding country roads that cut through farmland turn into winding country roads that cut through forest. My eyes veer from the road, eager to see old houses in devastatingly beautiful states of disrepair. As my car lumbers up long, gravel driveways, pots and sculpture begin to populate the landscapes – a sign that I’ve found my destination. The properties are thick with trees and geologic curiosities. Most striking to me were the monumental pieces of granite emerging from the earth around which Joy Brown has constructed her life; and the faces of blue stone, artifacts of mining, into which Tim Rowan has nestled. Life revolves around geology. They offer me tea, eager to share their stories and happy to listen to me as I try to articulate what exactly has brought me to their respective doorsteps. We talk about our mutual acquaintances, the pottery world is small. I proudly share that my grandfather is also a potter (and a harpsichord builder) wanting to show off my lineage of craft. They have gardens, many sheds, a studio or even two, probably a cat, maybe a dog. They all have a wood kiln, intriguing and mystical to me. How do they work? How did they get there? How do you learn? Why?