"Much of the premise of this book lies in the fact that presence still matters… local places, personalized spaces, and face-to-face interactions are still crucial in the experience of everyday life. My focus is on… a group of potters and artists who find the support of one another to be a major reason for pursuing their craft in a certain place. A strong occupational group and a corresponding sense of community are found where there are people who do similar work, share similar values, take pleasure in the same activities, and find frustration in similar aspects of life, and where they are in dialogue with one another about these values and goals. That is not to say that facets such as social media and mobility, which contribute to the accessibility of a very broad exchange of ideas in the world, are any less influential in the lives of contemporary makers... Yet when it comes to sharing physical resources such as materials and equipment, when it is a matter of building and firing kilns together, when one appreciates sharing a meal or a hobby or a meaningful conversation – in these crucial situations, the other artists who are consistently present and easily accessible in the same region are the most prevalent and are often the most important source of community feeling that an artist can have."

Excerpt from The Michiana Potters: Art, Community, and Collaboration in the Midwest (p. 10-11)

I was fortunate, as a kid, to have the kind of parents who took me to art fairs and introduced me to local artists. My father was an artist, even though he never made a career of it. Professionally he was a carpenter, so he certainly participated in the pursuit of artistry in his work life. Thus I saw early on that art was something everyday people took part in, and I'm grateful for that. Art was always something alive for me, and clay especially so – it was so malleable, so responsive. Compared to drawing or painting or woodworking, creating with clay meant less planning ahead, more being in the moment. I think, even as a child, I felt that working in ceramics was more like a conversation with the material than what I experienced in other mediums, and in retrospect, conversation and collaboration was always the path I was seeking.