In the Spring of ’81 I took a class with Rob Kendal in West Palm Beach, Florida titled: Glaze Theory & Calculation. It was the beginning of my interest in Pottery. It became a “hobby” I guess because it wasn’t a job or a career, just something I found very interesting and would continue to learn about and practice. I have a journal/notebook that captured one of Rob’s tidbits as I was learning to throw on a pottery wheel. The lesson was about making bowls and plates and I was practicing and having problems centering the clay. Rob said that I was using too much force – he advised that I instead “let the clay shape itself.” I began to center easily and finally made a bowl that was acceptable top to bottom. My journal recorded my excitement and how I wanted to throw at least 3x a week and make pottery for friends and then maybe later even sell some!

My next pottery notebook entries were in ’93 and based in the Dallas area. Maria Spies was my teacher at a local arts center. An entry in September of that year, discusses how to hold the hands to center. An obvious catch 22 for learning to be a good/consistent potter which always applies. I “found” Maria last year in Fairhope, Alabama where she now resides while visiting a local art center there where she now teaches. A small world experience for sure.

I have dabbled in pottery the last few years as I developed a website for Sona Knox, my friend, teacher, and owner of The Art House in McKinney, Texas in exchange for a studio at the ArtHouse. This renewed my interests in pottery. In September of 2015, I moved my studio to SPARC, another pottery studio, this one sponsored by St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, which started the studio to provide potters to manage and create pottery for their local Empty Bowls Project. We recently evolved the studio into a Co-op group of 6 ceramic artists. This is when I began to make pottery and sell my work at local festivals and art events. The McKinney Art Studio Tour, was my first “art show” where I learned to offer my work for sale.

My artist’s statement for our local McKinney Art Studio Tour describes my focus with pottery which has evolved somewhat over the last few months, but still holds true to my process of making pottery.

“The process of working with clay, its three-dimensional qualities and the effects of glazes, texture, and the variety of clay bodies, all provide rich and rewarding experiences. While the end product can be a surprise given all the possibilities that go into creating each form, it is the gentle, facilitating of the clay that is the primary experience. In learning wheel throwing I tried to force the form with external strength and overpowering force, only to discover the best practice is always to allow the clay to be centered with a lack of pressure. So too is life about allowing our inner strength to form and develop one’s path, becoming engaged in the process and its connection with life.

There are endless possibilities for creating unique and special forms, while the mystery of all the various elements that make a glaze for the presentation of the form – all are worthy challenges to find new and creative experiences – all are the sheer joy of making clay forms”.

As I enjoyed the process of throwing on the potters wheel, I was still looking for what I wanted to make with the process. One morning as I was trying to awaken, I thought about some tree branches that I had collected that might be interesting to integrate into my pottery. The very first piece that I worked on involved a “U” shaped branch from my front yard. I created an 8” tall open cylinder with two small loops near the top. After it was fired, a deep iron red with amber features on the top edge, I attached the U shaped branch to the small loops to make the perfect handle. After several more pottery/branch creations I decided to call these pieces my “Sticks and Stones Collection”.

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