I am a studio pottery located in the mountains of Western North Carolina, Yancey County, between Micaville and Celo. I manage to squeak in my studio time here and there while raising three boys!
I have joked with people that what I do is move mud around all day. But I’ve found that I’d rather move mud than anything else. It’s very satisfying work. I start with a dull gray lump and in a matter of minutes it starts to look like something. But even after it’s dried and bisqued, it’s still pretty dull. Only when I start to plan my glazing do the pots begin to show what they might look like finished. Then the final kiln opening is like Christmas day; each piece is a present. Granted, some are gag gifts, but you take the bad with the good.
I make pots; but that is only part of the process. Part of what I do depends on matching the right pot to the right person. When some people first see my pots, they immediately pick up and examine the first one they get to and don’t stop until they find their perfect pot. But I get the most satisfaction from those who are disinterested at first, usually just following along. When something finally catches their eye they are pottery fans for life. It’s the hard sellers that make my matchmaking worthwhile.
My pots are tall, short, wide, narrow, big, and small. They are for eating, drinking, and for lighting the way. Some are just for looking and touching. They become old favorites for subtle reasons. You may not realize that it’s your favorite, but you pull it out to use most often. I agree with many of my predecessors who believed that only through use and love did a pot have life. Only through using and eventually breaking and replacing a pot does one really understand that pot. I want my pots to be enjoyed by, everyone from collectors to college students.
Starting when I was about twelve, I got the opportunity to tag along to a few workshops at Wildacres Retreat in Little Switzerland, NC. I mostly just tried to stay out of the way of the paying students, but I did get a chance to learn to throw and to begin to understand the processes of clay. Six years later that experience helped me to get a job as a studio assistant at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC. There I began to take classes in clay and soon I realized that I had found what I was meant to do.
After three semesters at WWC I decided to move on and I spent a year throwing in my parents basement. In that time I also took a class focusing on teapots at Penland School of Crafts. In the fall of 1998 I enrolled in the Professional Crafts Program at Haywood Community College. There I watched my work progress from individual pots that were OK to a professional quality body of work.
My work is primarily thrown stoneware fired to cone 10 (2400 degrees Fahrenheit) in a reduction atmosphere using propane as my fuel. I make a variety of pieces ranging from dinnerware to lamps. I prefer glossy glazes and tend toward greens and blues with accents of tans and browns.