Many of the challenges we are facing are not that different than those our mentors dealt with in academia. The next generation is becoming responsible for continued reshaping of the field, as they strive to uphold the standards and beliefs of our predecessors, while also trying to adapt to an ever-changing culture.
If Bernard’s Leach’s A Potter’s Book was the old testament for many aspiring studio potters internationally, Daniel Rhodes’ Clay and Glazes for the Potter was the new testament for those living in North America.
Pottery often has a relationship to its environment, from the wild clay potters of North Carolina to regional aesthetics like the ubiquitous Minnesota brown pot. Like most people these days, potters are also concerned with climate change.
When students rush into the classroom in the morning, beaming with excitement about a new technique they saw on Instagram, something good is happening. They are hooked on ceramics and fully engaged in the process.
It was maybe 10 years ago that I was talking with a book editor who asked what I was working on. I told him, but then said, impulsively, that what I wanted to do most was a book on functional pottery.
Ray Brown. Low Pitcher, 2018. Soda-fired stoneware, flashing slip, black underglaze, glaze. 2019 NJSE Merit Award. Photo by SP.
There is satisfaction in developing the best iterations of a form, creating an aesthetic harmony among them, and making decisions that fulfill my desires for their function as utilitarian objects.
The Lugos - Roberto, Ashley, Theodore, and Otto, 2019. Photo courtesy of the author.
I come from a large family: fifty-seven first cousins, and each of them have children of their own. Early on, I knew that I wanted to be a father—apart from my knack for the ill-advised pun.