I create pottery with an emphasis on functionality and form. My pots are intended to be used daily and displayed in your home. I first learned to use a pottery wheel during my second year in high school. I quickly became enthralled with the process and was motivated to improve. I gathered inspiration from collections of ancient Greek and Roman pottery on display in museums near Los Angeles, close to where I grew up. I wanted to make pots that displayed the same elegance and power in their forms as those.
I continued to make and teach pottery during my free time while I was in college and after. I did some traveling and was an artist in residence for a short period at a studio in Greece. Eventually, I sought out professional potters to visit and learn from. I observed the level of commitment required to turn pottery making into a full-time job. My time as a summer studio assistant for a wood-firing potter in Wisconsin strongly influenced my decision to pursue a career of making art.
I received formal training for a year and a half during my apprenticeship with a potter in North Carolina. Now I live in Tenino, Washington where I am growing my own pottery business. I have plans to build a wood firing kiln of my own soon. In the meantime, I am producing work using my electric kiln and continuing to set up shop.
I make pottery that embraces the materials and processes by which it is made. Everything that I create is formed, at least partially, on a pottery wheel. I strive to make wares which belong functionally or decoratively in a domestic setting. I am constantly mindful of how my personal aesthetics combine with the many traditions which I gather inspiration from. My goal is to create items which are personal to me, and to bring appreciation to the modern and historic artists whose work has informed mine.
My relationships with clay and glaze ingredients are essential to the progress of my work. I continually test how these materials behave. The characteristics of the substances which constitute my finished pots inevitably influence my creative approach and design. I like to showcase the texture of clay by intentionally leaving throwing lines, trimming lines, and finger marks. The gestural surface decorations that I make are
deliberately carefree to preserve the fluidity and movement of the slip that I use. These motifs provide visual and tactile points of interest for the user which are evidence of the handmade nature of an item.
I believe that an appreciation for pottery is ubiquitous. I have filled my home and cabinets with pottery made by artists from all over, and I am delighted to use it every day. My goal is to share what I do with others so that they might experience the same enjoyment that I do.
It is important to me to have art in my life in one form or another. I have studied drawing and painting, experimented with mixed media, and dabbled in flower arranging. Most of my art education comes from museum visits in Milwaukee, where I grew up, Boston, where I attended college, and cities such as New York and London to which I have been lucky enough to travel. I also lived with Alan during his formal woodfired pottery training and learned from the traditions in North Carolina while we were there.
Pottery is made in batches, requiring many pieces to be made before any one is fired. In our pottery this often means many iterations of the same shape are made. The iterative quality of pottery is a new experience for me and one that I love. I find that it is great for learning - you can always move on to a new pot. Learning from the mistakes of previous iterations while starting fresh reminds me to simplify movements and focus on the pot at hand. This practice of moving confidently and observing has influenced my drawing in exciting ways as well.
I am especially interested by the strong traditions of shape in pottery. It is interesting that people have been returning to the same / similar shapes for thousands of years. Some combination of aesthetic preference and functional need must have influenced shapes that are now traditional. While working in the studio, I will continue to maintain the plant life around our home and the cats inside it. I will continue to value organization and a balance of work-flow and pause. I hope to learn from traditional shapes as I develop my own aesthetic and functional values based in my daily life."
Annie is my partner in life and at the pottery. She has supported the pottery by creating the website and designing my stamp and logo. She is now stepping into the studio to assist in the making process and learn to throw. Hear from Annie in her own words:
" I am excited to be able to take part in the making process after being inspired by Alan for years. I especially enjoy throwing, which I find challenging, but calming.