Wednesday, 30 April 2014

movie day: Grayson Perry: the Guardian interview

current show at Santa Fe Clay


This gallery show will feature dinnerware and items for the table representing each letter of the alphabet. Ten invited artists have been selected to each tackle three, or more, letters apiece.

Works by Mark Cole, Kenyon Hansen, Madeline Harris, Courtney Murphy, Lisa Orr, Joseph Pintz, Peter Scherzer, Daniel Ricardo Teran, Kyla Toomey and Todd Volz


Santa Fe Clay's 2014 Summer Preview Exhibition is a show of master ceramic artists who will conduct summer workshops at Santa Fe Clay, in 2014. The mission of our workshop program, established in 1994, honors the recognized masters in the field while also presenting the up-and-coming generation of younger artists. Our summer artists will show recent work in this exhibition, encompassing a broad range of the best in sculptural and functional ceramics being made by these internationally recognized artists.

The artists included in this show are: Adrian Arleo, Linda Christianson, Lisa Clague, Julia Galloway, Jeff Oestreich, Mark Pharis, Ted Saupe,  Janis Mars Wunderlich and Arnie Zimmerman.

Santa Fe Clay | 505-984-1122 | |
545 Camino de la Familia
Santa Fe, NM 87501

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

guest post: book review of Fragiles by Vivian Orr

Fragiles: Porcelain, Glass and Ceramics

Edited by Robert Klanten, Sven Ehmann and Sabrina Grill.
Text by Sonja Comments for Gestalten. Published by Gestalten, Berlin 2008
ISBN 978-3-89955-208-9

Reviewed by: Vivian Orr, Communications & Publications Coordinator, Saskatchewan Craft Council
“Fragiles is an eclectic collection of unconventional contemporary work in porcelain, glass and ceramics. Today, these materials are increasingly being used in playful ways by both established and emerging design talents, who are inspired by Modernism, an ironic depiction of kitsch and an expanded repertoire of forms made possible by technological developments such as rapid prototyping. The spectrum and quality of these innovative projects shows a current generation of designers just how relevant and challenging working with these traditional fragile materials can be.” ~Publisher

WARNING (from Vivian): Do not take this book to bed. It is over 2 kg, almost 5 lbs. You will not be able to breath with it on your chest. Besides it is so interesting forget about sleeping. You might as well sit in a comfortable chair.

The book is divided into six chapters. The first chapter is PORCELAIN AS CANVAS and the first artist is Tord Boontje.

Boontje is a designer whose work I personally love. Internationally recognized, he has work in the permanent collections of the MOMA, New York and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. In this book Boontje’s TABLE STORIES (designed for Authentics) is featured.

“This collection is a rich graphic narrative on everyday ceramic plates, bowls and glasses. The drawings for the plates are filled with flowers, deer, squirrel, birds, bear, butterflies, horses, bunnies and a peacock. The animals and flowers seem to merge and to grow out of each other. Some of the elements we have hidden inside the patterns, there is for example a hidden mouse in one of the plates. Over time you can discover new elements while eating.
The graphic images are applied as an underglaze print. This is an old ceramic technique by which the image is first fired onto the ceramic body and second a clear glaze is applied on top. This gives it a very durable, hard wearing quality, making it suitable for everyday use.”~Studio Tord Boontje

This first chapter is filled with strong examples of graphic images applied to plates, cups, saucers, trays, bowls, bottles, etc. Some are monochromatic, some are brightly coloured, all display a very personal, contemporary and fresh take on traditional shapes and imagery.

Chapter two FRAGILES IN TRANSITION highlight artists’ abilities to transform, or perhaps more accurately - transmogrify everyday objects into something eye-popping.

Stephen Burks describes his PATCHWORK SERIES for Missoni:

“although some people might call them decorative, they’re much more of a recycling project, about using a specific material in a structural way.” ~ Stephen Burks

The result are thrift store vases meticulously covered, decoupage-like, in vibrant, striped, swatches of Missoni fabric scraps then sealed in resin.

“In an age of mass production craft really resonates.” ~Stephen Burks

To see more of Stephen Burks work:

And now for something completely different …

Dror Benshetrit VASE OF PHASES (produced by Rosenthal) are stark and darkly elegant.

“The VASE OF PHASES highlights the beauty of experience and reflects Dror Benshetrit’s ruminations on the ideas of purity, damage, and transformation. The porcelain vases are cast from moulds created from the three smashed originals.”

Watch an interview of Benshetrit talking about his process to create VASE OF PHASES:

And for DIY-ers out there, Xavier MaƱosa has created PISSARO (produced by Apparatu); vases coated with blackboard paint. You can draw and erase to your heart’s content.

Watch a video of the Apparatu artisans creating extrusion bowls:

Chapter three OBJECTS AND DESIRES ranges from stunning to a wee bit disturbing. Magdelena Nilsson’s very textured vase STOMACH is deceptive at first glance.

“I have translated animal intestines into porcelain, transforming the soft, red, and bloody into something clean, white and hard. The unusable became useful, and the disgusting beautiful.” ~Magedelna Nillson

To see more of her work visit:

On the stunning side of the scale, four of Jennifer McCurdy’s hand thrown, altered and carved vessels are featured. Her vessels are organic, filled with movement and energy.

To see more of her work visit:

I am going to close this article with BEADS & PIECES, designed by Hella Jogerius, it is a Design With Conscience project.

“Design With Conscience, founded by Artecnica in 2002, is a program for the design and manufacturing of products to be in accordance with humanitarian and environmentally sensitive principles.”

“Artisans located in the primary coca leaf-growing region of Peru handcraft the collection. With the help of Aid to Artisans, a non-profit organization that provides practical assistance to artisans worldwide, Artecnica offers an alternative economic reality to the people of this dangerous and oppressed area. With its black ceramic embellished with delicate pink beading, Beads & Pieces is classic Jongerius. Ceramic floral bouquets and wooden beads add to the artful juxtaposition of elements. Beads & Pieces’ handcrafted and socially responsible origins are apparent in its design. The ceramists’ workmanship is seen in the graceful curves of the black ceramic, a traditional Peruvian pottery technique. Some motifs from the indigenous Shipibo tribe are also incorporated into the beading..” ~Artecnica
To learn more about Design with Conscience:
The last three chapters are:
3)    L’ART POUR L’ART (which includes Hans Van Bentem M16 crystal chandelier – had to throw that in)
Get the book (it may be available through your public library). It is fascinating, inspiring, at times creepy or just plain funny, but well worth the time to sit in your comfy chair and read.

Upcoming @ Clay Arts Vegas

1511 S Main Street | Las Vegas | NV | 89104

technical tuesday: Making a Wedgewood Vase

Monday, 21 April 2014

Akar Yunomi opens this Friday!

AKAR Design Home page
Upcoming Show I 2014 Yunomi Invitational I Opens April 25, 2014, 10:00 AM CST
April 25 - May 16 2014 Yunomi Invitational (Online Only!) 
Yunomi Invitational 2011 Yunomi (U-know-me)- A form of teacup, typically made of ceramic material, being taller than wide, with a trimmed or turned foot. Unlike the more formal chawan tea bowl which is used during the Japanese tea ceremony, the Yunomi tea bowl is made for daily (or informal) tea drinking. 

The Countdown Has Begun!
The Yunomi Invitational is now only a few days away! As the web gallery puts the final touches on the 2014 Yunomi Invitational, we want to make sure you feel prepared for the show, too. This is our largest annual show; this year we have a total of 935 Yunomi. For the sixth consecutive year, artists have elected to donate portions of their sales to The Studio Potter, a non-profit organization dedicated to all things clay. Of our 187 participating artists, this year 143 individuals are donating profits from a total of 258 Yunomi! With a show of this grand scale, we thought a few tips and hints might help to make your online Yunomi experience pleasant and seamless. Please remember this is an online event only, therefore we will not be taking any requests over the phone or by email on the opening day. This Friday, April 25, at 10:00 AM Central Time all Yunomi will be available at

Tips for a Successful Yunomi Experience:
Make sure to follow AKAR's Facebook Page for "Sneak Peeks" of the Yunomi Invitational! We are posting daily preview photos of the Yunomi that are in this upcoming show. We are even taking requests for what photos to post next!

You will need to create an account at if you want to be ready to make a request when the 2014 Yunomi appear this Friday at 10:00 AM Central Time. If you have already registered on our website, be sure your account information is current.

To register as a new customer visit your account login page. Submit your email and password, and then fill out your account information. You will not need your credit card information to register.

After you've created your account, you can immediately browse the site and pick products from our selection of artists and designers. If you find an artist on the 2014 Yunomi list above whose work you like, consider book marking his/her artist page. When the new Yunomi appear, you'll save precious moments as other customers race to find and purchase their own favorites.

When you click a product on our website, a pop-up window will appear with more photos and a more detailed description of the item. To reserve a Yunomi or another product, simply click the BUY button in the bottom right corner of the pop-up window. On the next page, click the submit button to put in a purchase request for the item. When a piece has been requested and submitted an orange dot will appear by the product. If multiple requests come in for an item, the request with the earliest timestamp will be honored.

After we approve your purchase request, you will receive an email that confirms your order. At this time you will have 24 hours to visit the site and purchase your item (now you will need credit card information) before it is released. After your purchase is complete a red dot will appear by each product indicating it has been sold.

If you have questions about the ordering process or the 2014 Yunomi Invitational, please call the gallery at (319)351-1227 or email

List of Artists:
Ted Adler, Dan Anderson, Andrew Argentina, Jeremy Ayers, Noel Bailey, Mariana Baquero, Mary Barringer, Ben Bates, Hayne Bayless, Nicholas Bernard, Birdie Boone, Karl Borgeson, Catherine Boswell, Cynthia Bringle, Robert Briscoe, Chris Burd, Richard Burkett, Jason Burnett, Peter Callas, Benjamin Carter, Billy Cho, Victoria Christen, Benjamin Cirgin, Naomi Cleary, Sunshine Cobb, Steven Colby, Tom Coleman, Michael Connelly, Michael Corney, Julie Covington, Julie Crosby, Guillermo Cuellar, Carolanne Currier, Israel Davis, Charity Davis-Woodard, Chandra DeBuse, Nick DeVries, Josh DeWeese, Dawn Dishaw, Maria Dondero, Katriona Drijber, Carole Epp, Mark Errol, Paul Eshelman, Jana Evans, Susan Filley, Donna Flanery, Delores Fortuna, Chad French, Yoshi Fujii, Nancy Gardner, Ernest Gentry, Mike Gesiakowski, Bruce Gholson, Sally Gierke, Andrew Gilliatt, John Glick, Lisa Gluckin, Jim Gottuso, Mel Griffin, Stephen Grimmer, Chris Gustin, Julie Guyot, Perry Haas, Arthur Halvorsen, Kenyon Hansen, Steve Hansen, Phil Haralam, Dara Hartman, Chad Hartwig, Mike Helke, Samantha Henneke, Richard Hensley, Fred Herbst, Autumn Higgins, Steven Hill, Sam Hoffman, Meredith Host, Michael Hunt & Naomi Dalglish, Sarah Jaeger, Greg Jahn & Nancy Halter, Tom Jaszczak, Cathi Jefferson, Jay Jensen, Kyle Johns, Ani Kasten, Matt Kelleher, Gail Kendall, Kelly King, Michael Kline, Benjamin Krupka, Eva Kwong, Tim Lake, Justin Lambert, Martina Lantin, Jayson Lawfer, Simon Levin, Dick Lehman, Brenda Lichman, Kirk Mangus, Sarah-Anne Marraffino, Andrew Massey, Alex Matisse, Hannah McAndrew, Matt McGovern, Lorna Meaden, Christopher Melia, Melissa Mencini, Jenny Mendes, Matthew Metz, Ron Meyers, Ernest Miller, Catie Miller, Megan Mitchell, Ryan Myers, Mark Nafziger, Andy Nasisse, Ted Neal, Aaron Nelson, Amy Nichols, Brooke Noble, Sean O'Connell, Shawn O'Connor, Lindsay Oesterritter, Kip O'Krongly, Debra Oliva, Lisa Orr, Gillian Parke, Kristin Pavelka, Lisa Pedolsky, Douglas Peltzman, Ronan Kyle Peterson, Ron Philbeck, Brandon Phillips, Chris Pickett, Peter Pincus, Kari Radasch, Jeremy Randall, Beau Raymond, George Rector, Matthew Repsher, Steven Rolf, Audrey Rosulek, Justin Rothshank, Tim Rowan, Mat Rude, Akira Satake, Peter Scherzer, Deborah Schwartzkopf, Yoko Sekino-Bove, Nancy Selvin, Jo Severson, Jeff Shapiro, Mark Shapiro, Luba Sharapan, Joey Sheehan, Grace Sheese, Jane Shellenbarger, Amy Smith & Simon Levin Collaboration, Amy Smith, Kevin Snipes, Stacy Snyder, Mitchell Spain, Amelia Stamps, Stacey Stanhope, Liz Zlot Summerfield, Angelique Tassistro, Sam Taylor, Charlie Tefft, Al Tennant, Daniel Ricardo Teran, Shoko Teruyama, James Tingey, Kyla Toomey, Natalie Tornatore, Jason Trebs, Mikey Walsh, Julie Wiggins, Adero Willard, Betsy Williams, Elenor Wilson, Lana Wilson, Tara Wilson, Matt Wilt, Rosalie Wynkoop, Shumpei Yamaki, and Casey Zablocki.

Artists Photographed Above:
(Top Row) Yoko Sekino-Bove, Ben Krupka, Rosalie Wynkoop, Jenny Mendes, Andy Nasisse, Lisa Orr, Mitchell Spain, Sarah-Anne Marraffino (Middle Row) Julie Guyot, Melissa Mencini, Greg Jahn & Nancy Halter, Phil Haralam, Michael Hunt & Naomi Dalglish, Tom Coleman, Matthew Repsher, Steven Hill (Bottom Row) Michael Corney, Billy Cho, Birdie Boone, Paul Eshelman, Richard Burkett, Israel Davis, Jeremy Ayers, Cynthia Bringle

monday morning eye candy: Alice Mara

Saturday, 19 April 2014

emerging artist: Daniel Listwan


In these works I utilize the decorative tradition of Josiah Wedgwood’s Jasperware line and alter it. The functional object here is not a teacup or trinket box but rather iconic scientific instruments used frequently in microbiology for researching microscopic bacterium, pathogens and other such organisms. The images on these vessels are not of pretty, benign neoclassical scenes, but rather of mutation-causing, death-spreading malign life forms such as anthrax, Ebola, Yersinia pestis (Black Death), H5N1 and other such biohazards. Unlike the gods and heroes depicted on Wedgwood’s Jasperware, these flasks depict the life forms we should truly fear and respect, the ones that remind us that the human animal is not as superior as we might hope.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

In Full Bloom @ Baltimore Clayworks

adero willard

allison luce

View the show online at:

job posting: The Ceramic Publications Company

Did you know there is a nonprofit multimedia publishing company focused entirely on studio ceramics? Well there is (it's us!) and we have a new position available on our editorial team.

Ceramics Monthly Pottery Making Illustrated DVDs Art Books

The Ceramic Publications Company is seeking an Assistant Editor to contribute to our content-acquisition and editing efforts for Ceramics Monthly, Pottery Making Illustrated, art books, and Ceramic Arts Daily. This is a full-time position located in our Westerville, Ohio, office. 
We're looking for someone with a comprehensive understanding of contemporary studio ceramic artists and processes. For full details and application requirements, check out our employment ad on either Monster or on LinkedIn.
If you think this might be your dream job, let's talk. If you know someone who would dream of this job, please share this with them. 
Sherman Hall
Managing Director, Ceramic Publications Company

congrats to ACAD!

ACAD Receives Approval to Offer Its First Graduate Program: Master of Fine Art in Craft Media

After a recent review by Alberta Quality Council, ACAD has been granted approval to offer a Master of Fine Arts in Craft Media beginning in January 2015.

This approval is the culmination of years of hard work and dedication from many members of the ACAD community. Professor Dianne Taylor-Gearing, Vice President Research and Academic Affairs and her team worked diligently with the Province and members of Faculty to ensure that the application for the MFA met Campus Alberta Quality Council’s rigorous academic standards.

“All in Academic Affairs who have been working on this should be commended as this is a major milestone for the Alberta College of Art + Design as it enters the next phase of its evolution in providing graduate educational leadership in arts and craft,” says Dr. Daniel Doz, President and CEO of ACAD.  “I wish to extend my thanks to the MFA team members for their dedication to: Mackenzie Kelly-Frere, Charles Lewton-Brain, Tyler Rock, Wayne Baerwaldt, Laura Vickerson, Jennifer Salahub, Mireille Perron, Greg Payce, Kurtis Lesick, and Natali Rodrigues with a special thank you to a number of significant contributors including Marc Scholes, Christopher Willard, Carissa Cameron Matthews, Alice Joshua and Dianne Taylor-Gearing”.

A successful country requires highly qualified creative people engaged to make Canada the best place to live, work and play. “The MFA in Craft Media establishes ACAD as a unique international centre of excellence for graduate studies in ceramics, glass, fibre, metals and jewelry,” explains Professor Taylor-Gearing, Vice President of Academic Affairs. “We are excited to welcome the first MFA graduate students commencing January 2015 from Alberta and beyond.”

With the addition of the MFA in Craft Media, ACAD will be a destination for many members of Canada’s cultural community wishing to further their education.   By offering diverse and cross-disciplinary programs at both the undergraduate and graduate level, ACAD will be recognized as one of Canada’s leading art and design colleges. 

Approval of the MFA is one of many foundational steps to realizing the strategic priorities identified in the 2012 Strategic Plan.  The Alberta College of Art + Design is unique among its Campus Alberta partners – it is the only College with a provincial mandate for art and design education and is now the only College to grant graduate degrees.

movie day: Paulus and Clay

Paulus and Clay from TOTM Film on Vimeo.

At the 2013 NCECA ( Nation Council on Education for the Ceramic Art) Paulus Berenson was made an Honorary Member of NCECA, a 10,000 strong organisation representing artists throughout the USA. This edit from the film was played as part of the ceremony.
For more information on Paulus Berensohn the documentary about his life and work go to:

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

CALL FOR ENTRIES: The Clay Cup: Vessel, Icon, Canvas

A national, juried cup exhibition open to functional, design-based, and sculptural interpretations of the clay cup. 

Postmark deadline: June 15, 2014
Download the prospectus here

Unspoken: recent ceramic sculpture by Lyndsey Fryman @ Marta Hewett Gallery

March 28, 2014 - May 24, 2014

My sculpture is life, retold though a filter of symbolism and allegory.  The work I produce is inspired by what surrounds me every day as a mother, a farmer, and artist. In each piece there is a story behind its creation; they are pieces of me, like a personal journal.  Each sculpture represents my maternal experience, and the metamorphosis of that experience as mother and child grow, learn and demonstrate their moral and physical understanding of the world.  My work hints at something beyond the surface; a concept that reveals something beautiful, or enlightening that wasn’t easily understood.   I wanted to show the learning, growing and changing aspects of our lives; in the same manner old allegorical tales revealed the true nature of the human condition.
The metaphorical nature of the work asks the viewer to think outside of the norm, and into a place where the moral of my story is relevant. This body of work relates to the concerns and observations I have had as a mother raising a child with autism.  The viewer is given a glimpse into the internal experience I have with the development of child relationships when autism is a factor. Concepts and themes that encompass this body of work include the relationships siblings, peers, and mothers have with one another, and the social dynamics therein.

technical tuesday: Harlan House at the throwing wheel

Sunday, 13 April 2014

emerging artist guest post: Joel Cherrico

 I recently meet Joel at NCECA. He had contacted me in the past about the emerging artist posts and was already on the list for a profile on the blog. He then sent me the following guest post about his experience at NCECA this year. Grab a cup of coffee and have a nice read on a lovely Sunday morning.

"I am interested in exploring the role of handmade pottery in today’s world. Industrialized ceramics has eliminated the need for handmade wares, so the potter has redefined his/her place in society by creating an artistic visual language through production of handmade, utilitarian vessels.  In that case, why make utilitarian vessels?  I believe the ability to eat and drink from pottery creates a heightened sense of approachability to the artwork, allowing viewers to develop relationships through active participation. I limit my use of tools, constantly exploring ways to communicate the touch of my hand in each pot."

Generous Community Building: An Emerging Artist’s Experience at NCECA, 2014

“We should make work that elevates the ceramic field, and elevates all human beings.”
- Theaster Gates, Keynote Speaker for NCECA, 2014.
NCECA 2014 was mindblowing. Never have so many of my clay heroes been in one place at the same time. Even more amazing was the fact that all of them were there to answer questions face to face.
Since graduating with a B.A. in Art in 2010, I’ve had 2 main goals: support my livelihood as a full-time potter and join the contemporary ceramics scene. Pottery sales got me to NCECA this year, but becoming a voice in the clay world is a slow, steady process. Ben Carter calls this, “going pro.” I’m not there yet, but here are some highlights of how I approached NCECA to try and join this world.
Gave Away Free Pottery
I attached business card images to plates and shot glasses, guaranteeing these would stand out among the thousands of paper posters, postcards, and business cards. People instantly snatched them up. As clay artists, if we’re willing to invest so much time and money into paper ads, why not invest that into advertising with clay instead?
Clay Shot Cup Business Advertisement, Joel Cherrico Pottery
Stoneware Shot Cup Business Cards, Joel Cherrico Pottery
…especially when NCECA is filled with thousands of paper advertisements.
NCECA Advertisements, Photo by Joel Cherrico, 2014
Brought Mugs to Critique
I drove to NCECA with a box of 30 mugs. At first, I was sure I could sell them. In reality, my simple, Minnesota pottery mugs seemed like a dime a dozen. So I filled my backpack with mugs and pulled them out to critique with whoever was willing. This led to numerous solid critiques with some of my heroes in the clay world…Adam Field, Danny Meisinger (Spinning Earth Pottery), Keith Williams (former NCECA President). I ended up just giving away over 20 mugs with business cards.
With help from a good friend and artist Jim Mcallister, I spent $50 to make over 60 of these to give out at NCECA as my business cards:
Business Cards, Joel Cherrico Pottery, 2014
Sought out Clay Heroes and Asked Them Questions
Danny Meissinger of Spinning Earth Pottery setup the premier display as you walked into the expo hall. After sparking up conversation with him, I said, “Danny, I’ve been a full-time potter for 4 years and this year I want to make 7,000 pots.” He walked away from his gallery display, pulled out a folding chair and said, “Sit.”
20 minutes later I was still sitting, thumbing through a box of his coffee mugs while he held one of mine. Here are some of his insights:
“Make 7,000 pots this year, get that shit out of your system. Because you don’t want to be 58 years old with 2 cysts in your left hand and pain in your shoulder. But do it this year, I’m going to look you up next year to see if you did it.”
“You owe it to yourself to raise your prices and lower your production. If you make 7,000 pots my prediction is that you will raise your sales, but it won’t be sustainable.”
Below is a photo I shot during 2010 NCECA in Philadelphia. I was a senior in college. Danny remembered talking with me 4 years ago. This definitely helped us connect on a deeper level.
Danny Meisinger Spinning Earth Pottery NCECA 2010 Philadelphia Joel Cherrico Pottery 2014

Next I found Chris Gustin and shot him some questions. He answered with this simple, powerful quote:
“I love my gallery work and it still sells, but ceramic tiles really pay the bills. And I still do work on the tile side of the business too. I’ve found that if you have cash flow you can do anything.”
Accompanying this great quote was a shot of him smiling next to 3 of his vessels during the “Flow” exhibition in the Milwaukee Art Museum:
Chris Gustin, Milwaukee Art Museum, Joel Cherrico Pottery, 2014
North Carolina potter Mark Hewitt gave equally powerful one-liners. He said these during his panel, “Where Have All the Studio Potters Gone?” As a young potter trying to make a living and build a business, I though his advice was spot on:
“Teaching is a form of generosity.”
“Be realistic about your financial resources…do you have access to capital and land?”
“Go visit the potters whose work you like.”
“Be humble. Get an internship or an apprenticeship.”
“The first thing I tell a prospective apprentice is, ‘You don’t want to be a potter.’ It’s not easy, even in the best of conditions…some still want to defy the odds, and I’ve had 20 apprentices over the last 20 years. Six are making a living entirely from potting, six are making pots and have extra income from an extra job, or from a spouse, six are in various stages of transitioning…two are no longer potting.”
“My most successful apprentices are those that worked the hardest, and wanted to succeed the most.”
“If they have settled close to me, they have tended to do better (by stealing my business!)”
“We need mainstream advocacy for pottery…wouldn’t it be nice if ‘Ghost’ was remade…How about a sitcom set in a pottery studio? With a master potter and a stoner apprentice…”
“Why are there no potters in People Magazine?”
“Build on pre-existing support structures. Build community.”
“Go where there is money, go where there is clay.”
Those last few really got to me. Why don’t we see skilled potters throwing on national TV? I return to NCECA Keynote speaker, Theaster Gates, who may have taken the first steps toward making this a reality with his spot on the Colbert Nation.
Stepped up to the Mic
I snapped this before asking a question at the #virtualclay panel in front of 200+ spectators. Sorry for the blur, but my hands were shaking.
Virtual Clay Panel NCECA 2014 Joel Cherrico Pottery
Oh and that woman in front of me with the long black hair…that was Ayumi Horie, and my question was about her…awkward!
She’s one of my heroes because she’s an innovator to her core, while remaining true to the pots she wants to make. Chris Gustin shows 2 bodies of work: vessels for galleries, and tiles to pay the bills. But Ayumi Horie makes her pots, markets her pots ingeniously, and sells them all. Here was my question for the panel:
Question: ”I’ve been closely studying Ayumi since 2008, and I built my website after seeing her consistently sell so much pottery online for such high prices. Why do you think she’s had so much success? Is it her staying power? The prestigious places she’s studied? Her writing in Ceramics Monthly and American Craft Council?”
(Ayumi locked eyes with me right as I spit out the question.)
Answer: “Generosity. She volunteers and donates so much of her time to the ceramic community and the community gives back.”
More was said, but that’s what I took from the panel responses. Generosity was a reoccurring theme that I kept hearing people bring up. After the panel, Ayumi came to me and introduced herself. I apologized for being awkward, but she said, “No worries it was a good question, let’s keep in touch.” I gave her an “Indian Head Penny” business card and she thanked me.
Ayumi Horie Joel Cherrico Pottery 2014, Musing About Mug Guest Blog PostAyumi Horie Instagram, Joel Cherrico Pottery, 2014    
The next day she blew up my Instagram. I was so happy I got teary eyed. I mean here was a person I’ve been studying closely, copying her web design, scrutinizing all of her accomplishments, for over 5 years. She finally sees my work and actually likes it. That validation was pretty powerful. That wasn’t the only time tears came up in the conference.
Danny Meisinger was also the guy who broke the news to me that Don Reitz had passed away. He said, “Don’t be sad. Reitz lived a great life, he died in the company of his friend (and heroic clay artist) Jun Kaneko and family by his side. He said, ‘I’m gunna go lay down for a while’ and that’s exactly what he did. Death is just another path.” I still went to my car and balled like a little kid. Why did his death hit so hard? Maybe it was seeing him go through 2 wheelbarrows of clay in 2 days during a 2009 workshop in Flagstaff, AZ. Maybe it was meeting Christa Assad at that same workshop, where we had both had been so moved by his slide lecture that we were brought to tears.

Don Reitz Throwing, 3 Images, Joel Cherrico Pottery, Abstract Expressionism in Clay, Flagstaff AZ

Don Reitz Workshop, Flagstaff AZ, photos by Joel Cherrico

Christa Assad Facebook, Don Reitz, Joel Cherrico, NCECA 2014 
Maybe it was the fact that I was talking about Reitz with Christa earlier that day- all on Facebook! Or the fact that Reitz had zero pots at NCECA that year, and Christa couldn’t attend because she’s recovering from the fire that burnt down her studio. Either way, the experience of Reitz passing away was powerful, and we shared some powerful moments, even though it was only on Facebook.
Christa Assad Facebook NCECA 2014 Joel Cherrico Pottery
“The people I meet on social media are really the same people when you meed them in person. It’s kind of amazing.” – Carole Epp.
Carole gave me a huge hug at NCECA when I first met her.
The last day, emerging artist Renee Brown started her presentation with a great quote from Reitz. I frantically wrote it down. I think it encapsulates his life as an Abstract Expressionist in clay, and his love of NCECA:
Don Reitz Quote, NCECA 2014 Closing Lecture, Joel Cherrico Pottery, 2014
The conference ended and I wandered over the Milwaukee “Historic Third Ward” to walk around the Marshall building…….which has over 20 galleries inside! I wandered in and out of the Timothy Cobb Fine Art Gallery and struck up a conversation with the owner, Tim. I pulled out my leather bound journal to ask Tim questions and jot down answers.
As we spoke, both of his NCECA exhibiting artists walked in- a local Milwaukee sculptor Carrie Chimenti and Stephanie Rozene, Associate Professor at Hartwick College, followed by 5 of her students.
Then Tim said, “Joel I know a great BBQ place, you’re coming to dinner with us, I’m buying.”
Next came beers, whiskey, BBQ, and two hours of deep conversation about the professional art world. The artists were kind enough to buy my meal and drinks and let me give them pottery from my car as a thanks. As Tim left he said, “Keep writing in that journal, people will keep inviting you places.”
So how can an emerging artist stand out among the thousands of postcards, world class ceramics and crowds of diehard clay folk? I think the key is not to stand out, but to join the conversation.
Pottery Meme, Joel Cherrico Pottery Success Kid