Sunday, January 21, 2007

Potters Workshop

I went to an amazing workshop this weekend hosted by
Clay Arts Utah and taught by local potters. The workshop ran all day Saturday, and featured demos, recipes, and discussions. Suzanne Storer shared her terra sig recipes and processes. Ken Marvel demonstrated how to throw monster-sized pots and also spoke about his horsehair and saggar finishes. Sharon Mikkelson showed how overglaze brushwork can enhance pottery and also shared her recipes. Dawn Atkin explained the results discovered during the summer Saggar Firing Experiment and also the basic process of Saggar firing. Aaron Ashcraft (isn't that a great last name for a potter?) spoke about the business side of pottery and how he made the transition to a professional potter. There was an excellent panel discussion with several potters on how they price their work. Cheryl Glenn shared her display ideas for exhibiting work in fairs and festivals. Last but not least, Chuck Parsons demonstrated how to build a backyard kiln from a metal garbage can.

I can't wait to try out the new recipes and techniques that I saw. Sometimes I can feel very isolated between making pots alone and being home with just Emily (my 18 month daughter) for company. I really enjoyed seeing and speaking with several other local potters. I was especially interested to speak with Aaron Ashcraft. In his class, I learned that he started work as a professional potter around the same time that his son was born. In a reversal of usual roles, he was the stay-at-home father/potter while his wife worked a 9-5 job. It's inspiring for me to see positive examples of parents who make pottery and parenting work.

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