A little bit about the Pot Crafting…

My ceramic work is influenced by aesthetics and potters’ work from the turn of the century Arts & Crafts Movement. Some of the potters I have admired are Adelaide Alsop Robineau, Artus and Anna Van Briggle, Arthur Baggs, Frederick Hurten Rhead, Mary Louise McLaughlin, William Grueby, George Ohr (my personal favorite), and countless other potter’s work as well as pottery companies and schools from the same time period including Marblehead, Teco-Gates, Fulper, Pewabic, Hampshire, Rookwood, Weller, Newcomb College and Alfred University.

Each pot I make is hand made and one of a kind. Most are vases, hand thrown on the wheel and almost always altered … I can never leave well enough alone! I rarely start a pot intent on its design. I prefer to let creative juice flow after the pot is made, studying the shape inspiring intuitive design suited to the vessel.

The design implementation can be carving, incising, reshaping, removing clay like a window, or adding clay for a handle or an architectural element. I may add clay to form stylized flower shapes or use faux-bois (false wood) techniques attaching twigs as handles or branches on the surface of the piece. I also enjoy experimenting with triptych’s, borrowed from the Japanese wood block print formats, where I create three panels around a vase each framing different views of the same subject.

Some of my work is hand built, as example using an antique cast iron heat register grate that was used in heating ducts of old homes the heavy cast iron grate is pressed into a slab of soft clay transferring the design of the grate into the clay. I playfully think of the process as a “brutalist art technique” due to the deep pressing of cast iron into soft clay and also by the original design. The handsomely designed grates from over a hundred years ago are now “re-invented” into what I call “Bungalow Trays.” A design to be enjoyed once again in it’s new great grate tray form that make great conversation pieces. Isn’t that great?

Bungalow Tray

Glazing of my work before the second firing incorporates multiple techniques, including controlled layering of multiple sprayed glazes. A careful layering of certain glazes melting in the kiln firing will create a flowing or drip effect sometimes with a subtle crystalline or sparkle effect. My viewpoint is the “movement” in the flow and drip of the glaze gives the vessel a feeling of “energy” and “life.”

Most of my work is in the green spectrum although other glaze colors are used. The glaze formulas are mixed from scratch and I design them to emulate matte or satin glazes used by potteries from the turn of the century “Arts & Crafts Movement.” The most famous green glaze was created by William Grueby of the Grueby Faience Company in Revere, Massachusetts in the late 1800’s. Many other potters then tried to mimic the famous “Grueby Green” as I do also well over 100 years later! My new art vases are substantially less expensive than a Grueby piece which at auction can be very pricey.

Grueby  Faience Pottery

Most of the clay used is a buff or off-white stoneware, but at times porcelain or dark chocolate clay. Earlier work was gas fired (reduction) to cone 10, although now I am using an electric kiln (oxidation) fired to cone 6 or 7. Most of my work is marked with my initials, a “Roycroft Renaissance” mark which I am a juried member, the year in roman numeral, and the Gyldcraft Logo.

My work is primarily decorative art, sometimes called “non-functional” pottery and pairs well with the dark oak furniture or antique embroidered linens from the Arts and Crafts / Craftsman / Mission era. The vases can be used as decorative art alone, or will hold water for fresh flowers as the clay is vitrified during firing. Bowls or trays can be used for “dry” food like candy, cookies, sliced cheese or bread, but acidic or “wet” food may not be appropriate.