My journey in ceramics

My first experience with pottery making was back in 3rd or 4th grade. We were studying Pueblo Indian culture which included a section on the coiled clay pots they made and used for cooking and eating. Finished ceramics were painted and decorated with slip, burnished with the smooth side of a rock, then pit fired — effectively sealing the pottery for use without the need for glaze or high firing. For the art part of our class we made our own black-on-black coil pots, which we burnished with spoons (instead of rocks), and I remember the process took quite a bit of time to complete.

When I was in 6th grade, I made a coil teapot in the form of an elephant, which I finished with a blue/green glaze and gave to my parents for their 20th Anniversary. I know this only because it’s written on the bottom of the teapot — in pencil. That teapot had a designated space on a bookshelf in my parents’ living room for almost 30 years, and now lives with me.

I must have thoroughly enjoyed my early pottery making experiences, because as I moved through middle and high school I took pottery classes whenever they were offered, and my parents kept pretty much every piece I ever made as historic proof. When I started college I had no idea what I wanted to study, and I first pursued Psychology until I took a few art electives and decided on a B.F.A. with an emphasis in Visual Communications, specifically print-based graphic design. In my third year (I was on the six year plan) I found my way to the ceramics studio and immediately fell back in love. For a while I had a plan to graduate with a double emphasis in Design and Ceramics, but with a full-time job in addition to school, I eventually ran out of hours in the day and something had to go, unfortunately that something was the ceramics program. I earned my B.F.A. in the fall of 1998, which resulted in an almost 20 year career in graphic design and brand management .

Every so often when my life settled a little, I would find myself in a community ceramics studio taking a class or two, but eventually life would get busy and/or crazy and/or chaotic again and just as had happened in college, when I ran out of hours and/or energy, something had to go, and unfortunately that something was ceramics.

I knew for a while that I didn’t want to continue as a graphic designer, but kept doing it because it paid the bills, and because I didn’t know what else I wanted to do, so after my last job ended rather abruptly, I took a sabbatical to try and decide what my next life wanted to be, and because I had some time on my hands again, I (of course) found my way back to the ceramics studio. Before I knew It, I’d found my way to two community studios where I was happily spending as much time as possible taking classes, utilizing open studio time, spending time with great people, and ultimately realizing what probably seems glaringly obvious by now… the thing I’ve given up over and over for one reason or another in my lifetime, turns out to be the one thing I actually want to devote my time and energy to, and so here I am.

In 2019 I left my home state of Colorado and moved to Oregon, where I have a private studio within a larger community workspace. I’ve been slow to realize that my interest in ceramics is both experimental and experiential… I’m as fascinated with exploring the materials and processes as I am with making objects, which I think is reflected in the variety of work I make, and the number of different projects I have going at any given time. Wherever the ceramic journey leads me, I am definitely ‘on the path’, and excited to see what each new day unveils.

I hope you enjoy the work as much as I enjoy making it. Cheers!

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