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About The Studio Potter

Founded in 1972, The Studio Potter is an independent journal of ceramics, published twice a year in January and July. Each issue is organized around a theme, broadly stated so as to accommodate a range of perspectives, and featuring original and striking design. Recent themes have included: Clay and Words, Money, Sustenance, and The Uses of Failure.

Originally launched by a group of New Hampshire potters, early issues of the journal were dedicated to the experiences and concerns of working potters, an alternative to gallery-centered and how-to publications. SP has long since expanded its editorial reach to encompass aesthetics, ceramic history, and 0


philosophical arguments, but it remains grounded in the studio and in what is on the minds of all who choose clay as their primary medium. We encourage lively, thoughtful writing from across the spectrum of contemporary ceramics, and are committed to the elegant integration of visual and written content.

The following pages offer a digital sample of the current issue, with additional out-take images and color images not included in the print version. The digital sample is a complement to the complete 96-page issue which is available in print only. Also presented is The Studio Potter Support Pages, a supplement featuring our underwriters. For more information about The Studio Potter, or to join, visit www.studiopotter.org.

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A Sense of Mastery

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Bees and Clay

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I’ve Got the World on a String

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My Life on Two Wheels

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Shards

by Dara Hartman

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Coming Up

Potter to Activist by Susan Weaver

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A Purpose Beyond Pottery by Monica Leap

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From Head to Hand by Edmund deWaal

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Counties of the Soul by Tom Spleth

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Floaters and Sinkers by Annette Bellamy

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No, I’m a Ceramic Artist by Elenor Wilson

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Fire and Flowers by Barbara Walch

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Letters to Clay by Rachel Garceau

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Time Constructs by Joanne Barlow

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Impassioned Anticipation by Jill Foote-Hutton

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Ceramics by Design by Whitney Lowe

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Crosscurrents by Kirk Mangus

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A Different Language by Donna Polseno

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Remembering John Reeve by Warren McKenzie

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Working with Human Clay by Meg McClorey

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Practicing Balance by Julie Wiggins

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Nan Bangs McKinnell by Susan Schoch

by Beth Lambert 18

Live On: by Matt Jones

by Gil Stengel 14

A Version of the Truth by Hollis Engley

by Ellen Shankin


T H E

S T U D I O

VOL 41 NO 1 WINTER/SPRING 2012/2013

COVER: Design by Whitney Lowe FRONTISPIECE: Mikhail Zakin, 1980. Salt-glazed stoneware. 5.5 x 10 x 8 in. THIS PAGE: Hands of fisherman and potter Annette Bellamy. Photograph by Linda Christianson.

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In this Issue

Mary Barringer Rostislav Eismont EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Donna McGee PRODUCTION Jeani Eismont CIRCULATION Elizabeth Webber COPYEDITOR Paula Consolo PROOFREADERS Karin Rothwell, J Doster FOUNDING EDITOR Gerry Williams BUSINESS MANAGER EMERITUS Julie Williams EDITOR

ART DIRECTOR

EDITORIAL

PO Box 257 Shelburne Falls, MA 01370 Phone: 413-625-9200 editor@studiopotter.org SUBSCRIPTIONS

PO Box 352 Manchester, NH 03105 Phone: 603 -778 - 8217 subscriptions@studiopotter.org PRE-PRESS PRODUCTION

Eismont Design 50 Monadnock Highway North Swanzey, NH 03431 603 -283 - 0027 eismont.com PRINTING

Lew A. Cummings Co., Inc. PO Box 16495 Hooksett, NH 03106-6495 INDEXING

is indexed by Ebsco Art and Architecture Index (ebscohost.com). For a listing of past articles, see www.studiopotter.org.

THE STUDIO POTTER

Vol.41 No.1 (ISSN 0091-6641). Copyright 2012 by THE STUDIO POTTER. Contents may only be reproduced with permission of THE STUDIO POTTER. Contact the editor. THE STUDIO POTTER is published in January as the Winter/Spring issue and in July as the Summer/Fall issue. Articles for prospective publication are welcome. Membership: One year US: $70.00 Canada: $80.00 (US) International: $85.00 (US) Student: $35.00 with proof of enrollment Back issues are available. Postage paid at Manchester, NH. Please send address changes to PO Box 352, Manchester, NH 03105. www.studiopotter.org.

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s always, the contents and images in this issue come to you thanks to the efforts of several organizations and individuals. Our intern for this fall, Jory Shareff, brought a keen eye and a fresh and sensitive perspective to reading and editing the material for this issue, and we wish her well in her future word- and clay-based endeavors. We are also grateful to the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver (www.belkin.ubc.ca) for making available images of John Reeve and his work. His importance as a figure in the studio ceramics revival of the seventies and eighties, though overshadowed in recent years, was detailed in Thrown, an exhibition (with a beautiful catalogue) showcasing the work of Bernard Leach’s Canadian apprentices and their contemporaries. Sometimes the timing of a death and the limitations of space make it impossible to include a proper tribute in the journal, and so we want to remember here Mikhail Zakin, artist, teacher, and founder of the Art School at Old Church in Demarest, NJ and its famous Pottery Invitational, who died in September. A woman of towering energy and voracious intellectual curiosity, Mikhail transmitted her passion for the ceramics of the world to students at Sarah Lawrence College and Old Church while making a distinctive body of salt-glazed sculpture. She encouraged, enlarged, and exhorted everyone she met, and like Nan McKinnell she was an inspiring model of artistic vitality, working in her studio into her nineties. In ceramics as in politics, thinking globally and acting locally is a good rule of conduct. Like so many teachers who have ignited a love of clay in the intimate space of a non-profit ceramics studio, Mikhail’s presence was most strongly felt within her sphere of regional influence. But her mind, her eye, and her students ranged widely, and the connections she wove among people will survive, alongside her work, as a lasting testament to her life. – MB

STUDIO POTTER is a non-profit organization which publishes journals, produces educational programs, and provides services to the international community of ceramic artists and craftspeople. A professional journal, THE STUDIO POTTER is published twice a year and focuses on critical issues of aesthetics, technology, history and personal development. It is aimed at a discerning readership of ceramists, educators, and others committed to supporting work and dialogue. By fostering innovation and creativity as well as respect for tradition, the organization endeavors to improve the quality of life and work for studio potters. STUDIO POTTER welcomes hearing from potters, artists, scholars and educators with special interests in writing and reporting on topics and events in ceramics. STUDIO POTTER BOARD OF DIRECTORS : Elizabeth Cohen, Carole Ann Fer, Lynn Gervens, Diane Welden Housken, Brian Jones, Jonathan Kaplan, Kathy King, Nancy Magnusson, Maureen Mills, Nick Sevigney. CONTRIBUTING ADVISORS : Linda Arbuckle, Michael Boylen, Cynthia Bringle, Louise Allison Cort, John Glick, Gary Hatcher, Kristen Kieffer, Mark Shapiro.


sideLines The play must be brother to the work.

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– Walter Kerr, The Decline of Pleasure, 1962

ell someone you are a studio potter, and you are likely to get one or both of the following reactions: Can you make a living at that? Or: Oh, my (aunt/neighbor/sister-in-law) makes pottery. An ongoing ambition of modern studio ceramics seems to be proving to the culture at large that this is a job – a profession, even. Our field is at pains to acquire the trappings of professionalism – credentials, organizations, and so on – and working potters carefully distinguish themselves from the hobbyists. Moreover, the term “studio potter” is tinged with an exalted sense of calling: an all-consuming, all-satisfying life in which work and play are indistinguishable. Why, then, would such a person need a hobby? This issue of THE STUDIO POTTER is concerned with the interplay between our primary work identity and our “outside” activities. For some of us, the studio is the locus of the former but we engage, often quite passionately, in another pursuit which is, importantly, not-work. Others of us choose not to burden our studio practice with the necessity of supplying everything – money, advancement, social standing – that we require of our work identity, so as to preserve the sense of play and freedom more easily found outside of workplace. An avocational pursuit can allow us to see anew, or even to recapture, the wondrous excitement that clay held when we first encountered it. Or, as Ellen Shankin observes in her piece on learning a martial art, it might increase our empathy for students struggling to master skills we have long taken for granted. But there are also makers – accomplished, serious ones – for whom no amount of mastery will use all their potential or completely satisfy their ambition to make a difference; they flip the work-play equation. Either way, the monolithic notion of pouring every talent, idea, and need into one’s studio practice fails to represent the complex and diverse ways we actually live our creative lives. And our privileging of work over other, less driven activities impoverishes our beings. Elsewhere in the book quoted above, Walter Kerr says: “Our foolish diversions and ephemeral amusements belong to an instinctive strain in the human personality that, given its head and nursed to its highest, might place us in the unexpected and exhilarating position of being reborn…” Here are tales of makers at play, and at work. – MB

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BEES AND CLAY by Gil Stengel

When I started working in clay, more years ago than I like to think about, I was taught that clay is a living thing, that there are microorganisms in the material that help make it plastic. Certainly, the first time I witnessed “clay memory” I had no trouble believing that the material is alive. When I’m working at my wheel and touching wet clay, I sometimes feel a connection to a craft that goes a long way back in time. The pots and clay pieces that attract me are all very old, some of them 4,000 years or more. That’s where I go for inspiration and knowledge and sometimes ideas, as far back in the past as I can get. I started beekeeping several years ago, after reading an article in a local Kentucky magazine about the decline of bees. With my first two hives I very quickly realized that here is a hobby with practices that go back centuries. The parallels to making pottery are numerous. There is tedium in beekeeping, much like mixing clay or wedging. In the spring I spend lots of time assembling hive parts, painting boxes, and putting wax foundation into frames that eventually will become honeycomb. Harvesting honey frames from hives is all about patience and timing; I think about trimming and pulling handles, clay processes where timing is critical. And then there is extracting. Every potter knows that feeling of opening a kiln, the expectation and excitement of seeing what the fire did. The same feelings occur when honey flows from an extractor tank. All the work of beekeeping suddenly pays off with gallons of sweet golden liquid. For the past several years, here in the Ohio Valley region where I live, bees have been in decline. Strong hives, active all spring and summer, suddenly become torpid and inactive, leading to inevitable death during the winter. Every fall for the past five years, I have watched anxiously as my bees prepare for the coming cold weather. I stand out in the field and wring my hands, knowing there is probably not enough honey in the hive to sustain the colony and watching helplessly as the bees don’t prepare. In the late winter and spring, I check the hives on warm days to see if there is activity. In March especially, I watch for bees flying at the entrances to the hives and hope that somehow the colonies made it through the cold. Up until this year, three out of four hives would come into spring with a dead frozen cluster inside and no food in the comb. Each year has felt like starting over; rarely has more than one hive made it through winter. Each spring I have to purchase more bees and start fresh. Some years I can catch a swarm or two, but until this year, those have never become strong hives. This year has been different. The bees started collecting pollen in early March, coming off of a warm winter. Three hives, the most ever, were able to winter over. The hives started to become active in late February, and in March I was seeing activity at the hive entrances that I would normally expect in late April. By May 1, my three hives had become five, then in May I caught my third swarm for a sixth hive. I passed on five or six other swarms that I saw near our house; I just didn’t have time or enough equipment to handle all these bees. Most years I can count on one or two swarms at the house, but this year I saw ten, and that was just the days I was home. A hollow tree near our house that has been standing empty for six years acquired a bee colony one May day. The bees are rebounding. I think of a beehive as like a piece of clay, only foaming with life. An individual bee is a fasci11


Gil Stengel is a potter, beekeeper, madman, and expert compost maker who lives and works in rural Boone County, Kentucky. 8301 Kelly Road Burlington, KY 41005 gilstengel@gmail.com OVERLEAF :

A typical brood frame.

The capped-off brown comb cells are unborn bees – early fall. RIGHT :

Vase, 2012. Stoneware,

wood/salt-fired. 11 in. Photograph by David Rafie. OPPOSITE PAGE:

apiary.

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Three hives in my


nating tiny engine, but in a colony the insects seem to achieve a group consciousness. In the spring this consciousness is apparent in swarms of bees. Swarming occurs when about half the bees in the hive, plus the queen, leave in a group and establish another hive. Preparatory to taking up residence elsewhere the bees will exit the hive and usually collect on a nearby tree branch in a large moving mass, clustered around the queen. Commercial bees are expensive, about $100 for three pounds plus a queen, so for beekeepers a swarm is a free hive. When I’m working my hives I usually suit up in a jacket and veil assembly that keeps bees away from my face. I’ve also worked my hives in a T-shirt and shorts, using just a simple smoke canister with a bellows to move the bees around and keep them off my hands. Opening and inspecting a hive is about a biweekly event and necessary in order to keep tabs on honey development and the activity of the queen, as well as on any disease or parasitic activity that can be detrimental to hive growth. Working the hives means looking at the land: bees do well when the land is healthy. Their food comes from growing things – flowers, pollen, tree sap, water. A healthy hive is a balanced hive, with enough room to grow and store honey but also enough food in the surrounding environment for the forage bees to bring in and place in the comb. There is something elemental in this work, and in truth we rely on bees to pollinate many crops. I’ve read that without bees man could not exist, that we have a symbiotic relationship with these little insects. To be a beekeeper is to work old school. Bees don’t like plastic; they don’t like chemicals, and they even get upset when they smell cologne or perfume on a person. Bees don’t like loud noises; I’ve been stung running a tiller in my garden. Beekeeping demands attention to the environment. Try answering your cell phone wearing a bee suit and you’ll see what I mean. When I was a teacher I used to assign a project in which students had to copy an old pot that I own, a native American piece from about 400 A.D. The piece is beautiful, expertly made, and with a strength of form I can only get close to with a lot of work in the shop. Of course students had all sorts of problems copying this “simple” piece, so as an incentive I always told them that if they could make a perfect copy of the pot, they could have a walk-off A, with no questions asked, no need to come back to class. I like to think that students have learned from this project, but as is so often the way of these things, I’ve also learned from it over the years. I think a lot about the potter that made that old pot. That person probably made hundreds of similar pieces with local clay and rudimentary technology, and I just happen to have the one that made it through the vagaries of time. Still, it shows a grasp of form and design, a mastery of form and proportion, that are difficult to teach, to articulate, or to achieve in the studio. There is a kind of knowledge there that is part of the soil, inherent in all of us but dormant. For me, this is the part of us that working in clay preserves. This is old-school knowledge that I think should be nurtured and preserved, lest we lose something essential that exists within all of us. There is no app for this; don’t bother clicking “like.” You will have to get dirty to understand. You will have to work with your hands, with rudimentary tools. You will have to get stung. 13


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MY LIFE ON TWO W HEELS by Dara Hartman

Dara Hartman is a full-time ceramic artist working in Salt Lake City, Utah. She has taught at Clark College in Vancouver, Washington, and Oregon College of Art and Craft in Portland, Oregon. 449 South 1300 East Salt Lake City, UT 84102 Dara@DaraHartman.com. www.DaraHartman.com LEFT :

Switchback, Wasatch

Crest Trail, UT. September 2012. Photograph by Jeff Muldoon.

It’s 3:00 a.m. and the coldest part of the night. The moon has set, and the sky is pitch-black. With one light on my handlebar and one on my helmet, I wind my way through the trees, over roots, and around rocks. I know there’s a dip in the trail coming up, and as I enter it I hear something moving ahead and see a blinding flash. The photographer for this event has chosen a most inopportune location for shooting the racers. Seeing spots, I bounce off a tree. The front wheel turns, and I go down hard in a rock garden. I dust myself off, inspect myself and my bike for damage, then climb back on and continue down the trail and into the night. I regain my confidence as I enter the home stretch of the course and gather speed on a fun, flowing descent. My eyes focus on the twenty-foot tunnel of light projected from my lights. In the distance, two eyes reflect back at me. If I slow down, I’ll lose time, so I keep rolling. The eyes continue staring at me. As I get closer, the shape gets bigger and bigger, and then I realize it’s an elk blocking the trail. I honk my horn and yell, “Move!” I love riding my bike. In the story above, I was riding for 24 hours as part of a two-person team. I’ve found that riding challenges me mentally and tests my limits physically. I’m always amazed that my legs can keep pedaling despite the fatigue. My mind stops thinking about all the things going on in my life and focuses on the trail ahead. I make split-second decisions and force myself to follow through. This was not always the case. I started mountain biking about fourteen years ago in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Blacksburg, Virginia, where I had enrolled at Virginia Tech. Shortly after I met my husband, he handed me a dilapidated Specialized Rockhopper mountain bike. The first few years riding were tough. The bike had no suspension, the saddle was incredibly uncomfortable, and I seemed to crash on every ride. Bikers like to say, “If you didn’t wreck, you didn’t have a good ride.” Well, if that was the case, I was having plenty of good rides. Surprisingly, I stuck it out. What kept me coming back were the rewards of making it to the top of a climb and the relief of not crashing on the downhill. The overwhelming beauty of the scenery also quickly took hold and drew me back, ride after ride. I loved pedaling through the fragrant overgrown rhododendron bushes and stopping to observe the layers of colorful lichens, the jagged rocks, and the ghostly Indian Pipe growing on the forest floor. These observations inspired me in school and influenced my work. After learning about mold making, I packed up a large backpack of plaster, strapped buckets to my back, and went for a bike ride. Using stream water, I cast parts of boulders to form hump molds, then use them to make plates, bowls, and sculptural pieces that are glazed with a lichenlike surface. In the past six years I’ve truly found my passion for biking. I spend anywhere from ten to fifteen hours a week in the saddle. If I’m training for a 24-hour race, I try to ride up to twenty hours a week, but it can be difficult to find the time and is also very hard on my body. Riding is my time to cut free and enjoy being in nature. While climbing up a mountain I get engrossed in what I see near the trail – the dappled sunlight on the ground, the fluttering green aspen leaves, the chipmunks tormenting my dog. These sights and sounds are at once enticing and overwhelming. I feel a sense of calm and clarity and want to bottle it up as a magic ingredient 19


THIS PAGE :

Trillium Mug, 2012,

cone 6, porcelain. 5 x 4 x 3.5 in. OPPOSITE PAGE :

Bad Bettys Mug,

2011, cone 6, porcelain. 5 x 4 x 3.5 in.

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to put into my work. When we moved to Washington State, I fell in love with the rain and the dampness. The lush green forest was covered with moss that seemed to drip water. On my bike rides I was able to observe the wet through all four seasons. Clover covered the ground in blankets of rich, deep green. Dogwoods and rhododendrons seemed to grow everywhere and were larger than I had ever seen. Golden chanterelles announced the start of the rainy season in early fall, when they pushed their way through the leaves and pine needles. My favorite sights were the enormous tree stumps left over from logging generations before. Sometimes hidden under ferns and moss and other times right in the middle of a trail and used as a technical trail obstacle, these stumps, evidence of the power of the temperate rain forest, took my breath away. The objects I collect and photograph on my bike rides serve as inspiration for my studio work. They become surface embellishment, patterns, and forms for my pieces. Polished river rocks collected from streams and waterfalls serve as the model for glazes – wet and glossy, while satin to the touch. I became enamored with the trillium flower’s large teardrop-shaped leaves and single lavender flower, and used its shape as decoration on my pieces and as the form for my serving bowls. I am always humbled by the majestic beauty of the landscape, at once grand and full of small details that find their way into my work and convey the peacefulness and calm I feel in nature. Mountain biking is not without its drawbacks. It can pull me away from precious studio time in the spring and summer, and injuries can hamper my ability to work. The tension between my studio practice and my need to ride became more apparent after a serious accident. While attempting to ride over some rocks on the Lewis River Trail on Mount Saint Helens, I faltered and fell twenty feet down a rocky embankment. I broke my hip and my helmet and had to walk out ten miles. After a month of recovery, I was back in the studio and on my bike, but riding much more cautiously. Accidents like these keep people from getting back on the bike, but I’ve grown to realize that I can’t be afraid of what could happen. A torn rotator cuff and countless bruises and scratches later, I know that injuries are a part of the sport. I’ve learned to trust that I have the skills to ride a variety of terrain. Biking is second nature to me now, much like slip-casting is in my studio work. The bike is an extension of my body: I stand up on the descent and put my weight so far behind the seat that my stomach touches the saddle. I feel the bike float over jumps and lean side to side through turns. It’s exhilarating! Not only does this sport provide me with exercise, but it also affords time with my husband, Jeff, and our little Jack Russell terrier, Trait. In our adventures we have met many wonderful and interesting people. In southwest Washington I formed a special bond with a group of women mountain bikers. I learned a great deal from these friends, and to show my appreciation, I started


making trophies for our biking events. This opened the door to sharing my ceramic work with this community. As a result, I began getting more orders for bike cups, which led to an interest in the rest of my work as well. Some people would carefully wrap up their cup in a felt bag or box, bring it to a group ride, and then use it to enjoy a nice cold beer at the end of the day. There were ongoing stories about these cups being taken for ransom and left in the woods for their owners to find. I enjoyed this unexpected delight in my work. It took on a life of its own with blog posts and photos of where the cups might be hidden. They were always returned to their rightful owners, but the stories seemed to make the cups that much more special. As I’m getting older, I’m learning not to take myself so seriously. The bike cups are an example of my love of biking and the feeling of play that it brings to my life. While my work is minimal in style, it has evolved from generic forms and surfaces to subdued colors and shapes that reference the forms I find in nature. The texture of the flowers adds an enticing tactile quality and a sense of whimsy to the surface. Mold-making and slip-casting have certainly been a path of trial and error. I’ve had problems with lopsided castings, molds that are too thick or too thin, slip that would not absorb into the mold, and with glazes that would crawl on one form but worked fine on the others. As a result I have developed a set of “rules or practices” that I use to avoid problems with molds and castings. I meticulously plan the forms before I begin sculpting, drawing multiple sketches to scale while taking into account how much the casting will shrink. I want to make the mold only once. I don’t take any shortcuts, as I’ve noticed that is when I have the most problems. I make sure I complete the making of a multiple-part mold in one day so that the clay positive does not shrink overnight. By using a two-day schedule, casting one day and cleaning up the next, I don’t become overwhelmed with a backup of work. There is a certain rhythm to my studio practice that is like riding my bike. I know the feel of the slip, the exact casting time, and the right moment to remove the castings for finish work. I’ve learned a set of skills that allow me to quickly and confidently make new molds. I enjoy the order of this studio practice. But with biking I know that when things get comfortable I need to push against that feeling, to climb in a harder gear or let off the brakes on the downhill. I am now in a new studio in Salt Lake City, Utah. I believe the adventurous nature of my hobby has prepared me for uprooting my life and establishing a business in a new community. I am faced with a different set of challenges and inspirations. There is no telling where they will take me, but I know I am in an exciting place.

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LEFT:

In the Aspens on the

Wasatch Crest Trail, UT. September 2012. Photograph by Jeff Muldoon. BELOW:

Climbing McKenzie River

Trail, OR. March 2011. Photograph by Samantha Scheller.

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RIGHT:

Growlers Gulch Girls on the

McKenzie River Trail, Oregon. Biked half the trail and snowshoed the second half up to the Blue Pool. Left to Right: Juntu Oberg, Melanie Norris, Ksenia Mueller, Carol Mathre, Tonya Breedlove, Samantha Scheller, Denise Livingston, Dara Hartman, and Sara Carlson. March 2011. Photograph by Sara Carlson. BELOW:

Night Lap at the High

Cascade 24 Hours of Bend. Bend, OR. September 2011. Photograph by Jeff Muldoon


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COUNTIES OF THE SOUL by Tom Spleth

In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. — Thomas Jefferson P.O. Box 511 Little Switzerland, NC 28748 www.tomspleth.com OPPOSITE :

Acrylic on canvas.

2012. The paintings are a small part of a project to use the images on the vases as a source for abstract paintings. The paintings are studies for a larger canvas. The image is 21 x 21 in. OVERLEAF :

Vase, four views.

2011. Slip-cast vitrified china with colored vitrified china slips. 28 in. Photographs by Kohler Co.

I have a reputation of being someone who does a variety of different things. This has been to the detriment of my career. Museum curators and gallery owners do not know what I will do next and that stymies the conversation. Generally, my customers buy the work on a one-off kind of response, like the kind of response one may have at a discount shoe store: “That’s pretty good; I think I will get it … if I can afford it.” Until recently, my entire routine was that of an avocationalist. Nothing was at the center that could be considered the “main thing,” only an array of sidelines around about, where I have been camping for a long time. I felt like Abraham Lincoln standing under the flap of a tent at the edge of some rain-soaked battlefield, losing the war. “Nothing at the center” is a succinct way of putting it. For forty years, it’s all been sidelines. I have been sort of defined by whatever it is that I am making at the time. One must be assertive, audacious, committed, risky, inspired, and intoxicated to make anything at all, so when I am working away on something I am one hundred percent engaged – lost, so to speak, in the moment. Occasionally, what I make is not bad, and the thing has enough strength to wend its way out into the world and take on a life of its own. Sometimes the things I make are a total dead-end disaster. When that happens, I am crushed. It’s as if I have lost my marbles. Whatever modest intelligence I may have, which is shared with the sensations in my fingertips and ripples of pain and arthritis in my back, is brought into question, and I cast about hoping to make enough sense of the world to carry on. Now, it seems that the house of cards that I built and called a career has fallen to a few simple ideas about abstraction. I am making ceramics, and painting paintings, and drawing on the surfaces of the ceramics, and painting the images on the vases. Everything is abstract. I see now, for the first time, what other artists must have felt from the beginning of their careers: that this thing I set before you is so attuned to my identity as an artist and as a person that to meet the work is to meet me, and vice versa. It's that, after wandering in the wilderness for forty years. I still do many different things, but not an infinite number: brush and ink on paper, acrylic paintings on canvas, colorful vases in porcelain, and then the writing – super-delicate porcelain cups with profanity (a writing problem more than a clay problem, to be sure), short essays, and fiction. But all of these modes are separate and unequal in every way: One is fire. One is ice. One arrives on time; one, late. They say that when one speaks a new language, one acquires another soul. When mapping the solitary soul through different modes of visual art, the territory is parceled into separate regions, or perhaps one could say each kind of art bears witness to only that which it can see. Another kind of art sees a place wholly other. Strangely, each is a universe complete unto itself and infinite. Each exists side-to-shoulder with the others, and the soul harbors multiple realms, a bouquet of infinite possibilities. In my practice, I have found a gate or a break in the borders, a wormhole maybe, as the physicists say, where I can leave one infinite experience and enter another, separate and unique. Immersion is complete in either, both, or all, because at any one time, everything one may know about everything is present and the horizon is infinite. Yet, if 35


memory serves me, I recall that the realm of, say, ink and brush drawings looks nothing like the realm of writing. To pass through the gateway is disarming, disorienting. The time in transit, the time within the passageway, is fearful and filled with things whose shapes are unknowable. It is a time of emptiness, faith, and courage. Once through the gateway, one must pause and acknowledge and show respect for the newness of one's presence. All gestures are tentative; the tools unfamiliar and awkward to hold, the path ambiguous, appearing and disappearing. And one may be delivered to a dead end. Backtracking requires urgency and patience. But after a while, one regains citizenship in the realm and is granted access to all of it. To curtail my activity and limit my production to only one mode of expression would be to amputate and ignore another lovely county in my heart. So I pass between the several counties through gateways I have built, in order to live my life to its fullest while I am here. To make art only one way is unthinkable and begs a kind of suicide. Maybe in what I am seeing – when I pick blueberries on the side of the mountain while looking into the astounding view beyond; when I actually feel my hair turning gray; when I notice that the Milky Way casts shadows in the forest; when I see desire, unhappiness, despair, hope, and resignation in the face of a child and in my own face in the mirror – maybe, if I am paying attention, there is enough going on to continue. The single word for this is heartache. That is it for inspiration. The delusion that has seduced me for forty years is this: that the thing that I am going to make today is going to say it all. All the pain. Everything. Nothing left out. To accomplish anything one must be disciplined, diligent, honest, morally upright, uncompromising. It is not a gift.

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SUPPORTPAGES


T H E

S T U D I O

PLINTH GALLERY 3520 Brighton Blvd Denver, CO 80216 w: plinthgallery.com e: gallery@plinthgallery.com t: 303.295.0717

P O T T E R

Plinth Gallery is a pristine exhibition venue for ceramic art in Colorado. Located in Denver’s River North Art District, the gallery features works by both notable and emerging ceramic artists.

S U P P O R T

P A G E S

brent WHEELS AND EQUIPMENT 6060 Guion Road Indianapolis, IN 46254 w: brentwheels.com t: 800.925.5195

Built for life™ is more than a slogan. brent is the only wheel with a ten year warranty.

L & L KILNS, MFG. 505 Sharptown Road Swedesboro, NJ 08085 w: hotkilns.com e: sales@hotkilns.com t: 856.294.0077

L&L’s three-zone control and patented hard ceramic element holders distribute radiant heat and protect the firebrick, L&L kilns have come to be respected for their durability and precise firing uniformity in a studio environment for over 70 years.

it’s an open question Can you be arthritic and insincere yet still make it as a potter? Find out as Rascal Ware emerges from Chapter 11

coming in 2013 watch this space or w: rascalware.com


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MILE HIGH CERAMICS 77 Lipan Street Denver, CO 80223 w: milehiceramics.com e: milehi@milehiceramics.com t: 800-456-0163

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Mile Hi Ceramics manufactures 30+ blends in Colorado. Unique clay bodies including earthenware, stoneware, porcelain, architectural, raku and custom clays.

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SMITH-SHARPE FIRE BRICK SUPPLY 2129 Broadway St. NE Minneapolis, MN 55413 w: kilnshelf.com t/f: 866.545.6743 Advancer Ž shelves in Warren MacKenzie’s Kiln

BAILEY POTTERY EQUIPMENT PO Box 1577 Kingston, NY 12402 w: baileypottery.com e: info@baileypottery.com t: 800.431.6067 Pictured: ShackeltonThomas Pottery, Bridgewater VT

Bailey builds superior energy efficient gas and electric kilns. We pride ourselves on excellent customer service and great prices on thousands of items for the pottery studio and classroom.

LARKIN REFRACTORY SOLUTIONS P.O. Box 716 Lithonia, GA 30058 w: larkinrefractory.com e: LRS@LarkinRefractory.com t : 678.336.7090 f: 678.336.7094

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Supplying the highest quality silicon carbide kiln shelves, kiln furniture systems and high temperature kiln building materials available at fair market prices. We are devoted to the needs of potters, clay educators, ceramic artists and glass artists.

Over 35 years service and refractory design assistance. Firebrick-insulating and dense in straights and shapes, mortars, castables, ceramic fiber produces, kiln shelves and posts.


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MASTER KILN BUILDERS 27607 Grenada Avenue Farmington, MN 55024 w: kilnbuilders.com e: info@kilnbuilders.com t: 612.250.6208

Building beautiful custom kilns since 1996. UL compliant stoneware kilns, car kilns, soda/salt, wood.

CERAMICS: ART AND PERCEPTION CERAMICS TECHNICAL 23 Nor th Scott Street, Suite 19 Sheridan, Wyoming 82801 USA w: www.ceramicar t.com.au e: 1ceramicar t@gmail.com t: 001.307.675.1056

Two international journals for everyone interested in the ceramic arts (Use Promo Code SP2012 for a 10% discount on subscriptions) Ceramics: Art and Perception/ Ceramics TECHNICAL

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SHEFFIELD POTTERY Box 399/US Route 7 Sheffield MA 01257 w: sheffield-pottery.com e: sales2@sheffield-pottery.com t: 888.774.2529

OLD POAG ROAD CLAY & GLASS 5519 Old Poag Road Edwardsville, Il 62025-7417 e: oprcng@sbcglobal.net t: 618.623.8740

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We buy pots. Professional potters who use our clay: We want to buy your pots for our showroom. We’ll make the clay, you make the pots!


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SKUTT KILNS 6441 SE Johnson Creek Blvd Por tland, OR 97206 w: skutt.com e: mike@skutt.com t: 503-774-6000

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We help people make great things.

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Skutt offers a broad line of kilns to correspond to just about anyone’s specific needs. Our kilns are available in a large range of sizes and electrical specifications with the option to add a multitude of accessories and upgrades.

ADVERTISING SPECIFICATIONS At present THE STUDIO POTTER is offering two ad sizes: One quarter page and full page. Half page horizontal and/or vertical may be requested in special circumstance. Pricing is double the quarter page price. All ads will be designed and typeset by SP production at no extra cost. All materials will be presented in FULL COLOR. Discount for multiple issue insertion is of the SAME materials. To take advantage of this option, payment for second issue insertion may be deferred, but please inquire to discuss payment timing. Technical Specifications Quarter page: high resolution color image, 300 dpi tiff at 6 x 6.5 in. Full page: high resolution color image, 300 dpi tiff at 8 x 10 in. Proposed images (low-resolution .jpg) and text should be emailed prior to sending high-resolution files to spsupportpages@eismont.com. High-resolution files should be sent to Eismont Design at materials address listed. Text should consist of a short text of 6 to 7 lines, about 35 words or less, plus contact information. NO logos please. Submission implies your consent for SP to edit your text and/or crop your image should it be necessary. Payment must be received prior to publication. RATES: Member Quarter page position $345 for one time insertion. $322 each for two time insertion. Full page position $1380 for one time insertion. $1290 each for two time insertion.

PARAGON INDUSTRIES 2011 South Town East Blvd. Mesquite, Texas 75149-1122 w: paragonweb.com e: info@paragonweb.com t: 972.288.7557

Paragon electric kilns are workhorses. They fire day in and day out with little maintenance. Paragon has fired the imagination since 1948.

Payment address The Studio Potter Advertising Manager P.O. Box 352 Manchester, NH 03105

RATES: Non-member

Materials address Eismont Design 50 Monadnock Highway North Swanzey, NH 03431

Quarter page position $460 for one time insertion. $430 each for two time insertion. Full page position $1840 for one time insertion. $1720 each for two time insertion.

Please copy supportpages@studio potter.org to confirm receipt. If you have questions, email supportpages@studiopotter.org. Include your phone number and the best time to contact you.


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ALLEGHANY MEADOWS P.O. Box 781 Carbondale, CO 81623 w: ar t-stream.com

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“In New York we parked on 7th Avenue at Barrow, near Greenwich House Pottery. A gentleman in his sixties came in and sat down, He just kept looking around, but finally he introduced himself. He lives in Belgium and New York, and designs displays

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for museums. He was grinning at how much fun it was to have work of this quality on the street, something totally out there. Like nobody has seen an Airstream in Manhattan! And they’ve seen everything in New York, or at least they think they have. It was great and

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that was some of the first feedback I got. I knew it would be fun and good, but I didn’t realize the levels it would go to.” Exploring the Domestic Landscape- Alleghany Meadows and the Artstream Gallery. STUDIO POTTER, Vol 33. No 1

COMING TO NCECA? SP WILL BE IN THE EXHIBITION HALL AT NCECA 2013 IN HOUSTON,TEXAS FROM MARCH 20 TO 23. STOP BY THE TABLE TO SAY HELLO AND MEET THE PEOPLE BEHIND THE JOURNAL AND THE SUPPORT PAGES.

Vol 41 No 1 Winter 2013  

Editorial: Encounters in Place; Preserving Culture by Joe Molinaro and Richard Burkett; Side By Side by Ann Schunior; The Maker's Tag by Cou...

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