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University of Connecticut University Libraries

The Potters
from the
Clay Arts East
  • Richard Bourque My interest in pottery began about ten years ago when, for the first time, I went to a pottery show at the Wesleyan Potters. I felt particularly attracted to the pots that were simple in shape and earthy in color. Four years later I took my first pottery course and since then have acquired some skills and style in the craft. Now semi-retired, I hope to continue to develop my skills in creating shapes and styles that make effective use of earth tone glazes. Now most of my work is functional but I have no idea of how it may evolve in the future. The name Bourg that I sign on the pots is the original Acadian spelling of the Bourque name. I have been thinking of incorporating the uniqueness of the Acadian experience - almost all traces of that culture were destroyed in the scorched earth policy that took place in their forced removal from Nova Scotia in the 18th century - into my work but I'm unsure how that might be done.
  • Joey Sage Jablonski To me, clay is a merging of form and spirit. Clay is the earth and imagination. The actual process of working in clay makes me feel as if I am touching the ground and touching the sky at the same time. Throwing a bowl on the wheel feeds my spirit. It is through the functional bowl that I am most able to share some of my feelings of life with others. When people take home one of my bowls, I imagine just for an instant that when they are preparing a meal they'll think: "Somebody made this. Another human being made it because she wanted to and not because she needed the money. Am I doing what I love? Am I living close to my heart?" That is what my work is about -- living close to my heart.
  • Carl Meigs At least three traditions of clay work drive my vessels and sculptural pieces: ancient Chinese, Korean, and Japanese forms; pottery from Jugtown and Seagrove, NC; and English pottery in the Leach-Cardew traditions especially as it is made by contemporary British potters. Beyond that I have no "philosophy" except that every piece is a new experience - a one-of-a-kind piece like most things in nature. The primary processes that I use are: raku; high fire stoneware; and, most recently, porcelain. Most of my work is thrown on the wheel and altered but some pieces are hand built.
  • Betsy A. Kaemmerlen When I was about ten years old and first saw a potter at Sturbridge Village, I was in awe of the glistening lump of clay that rose from the wheel. It wasn't until about five years ago at Asheville's annual Arts and Crafts Conference that I was reminded of my old desire to work with clay. I bought a vase with a little frog perched on the lip, and found a new love. I dove headfirst into clay. I have taken lessons from John Macomber in East Hartford and attended workshops given by Chris Gustin, David Scott Smith, and Walter Reis. I've enjoyed myself immensely and tried to learn as much as possible. I find special delight in collaborations where two people's skills join to form something new.
  • Barbara Katz I am a sculptor and a potter working with clay. I create simple forms based on, and evocative of, ancient ritual vessels, artifacts, and shamanic figures. Whether building figurative sculpture or abstract forms, or making vessels, I am obviously concerned with the three-dimensional configuration, but the surface decoration is of equal interest to me. My work has a consistent unique quality; the surface retains the natural clay color with areas of various textures, thin washes of color, and sometimes pictorial elements. The work is all handbuilt using a D6 white stoneware clay for everything, sometimes adding grog and/or silica. A turquoise glaze is used for color along with copper, iron, rutile, Mason stains, and a black slip glaze.
  • Suzanne Staubach My pots are made on a kick wheel. Once I sit down and begin kicking with my right foot, the wheel becomes and extension of myself. I like the quietness of it, and the focus it imposes upon me. My work is functional, primarily stoneware, with a little earthenware now and then. Like the ancient Chinese, and our own colonial settlers, I glaze my pots when they are leatherhard (not quite dry). This saves on fuel consumption and makes a tight bond between the clay and the glaze. Often, I don't glaze the pots at all, or only glaze the exterior, letting the clay speak for itself, contrasting its earthy texture with the glossiness of the glaze. When the pots are totally dry, I fire them in a cross draft gas kiln. When the kiln has cooled, the pots are ready for use; for the table, the garden, the kitchen.
  • Carolee Tollefson Working in my studio I am aware of the process of learning, and relearning, at every step as I gain knowledge that helps me express myself in my work. I strive to give each piece its own personality by using a variety of forms, patterns, and textures. Some pieces work well with only oxides for coloring; on others I use slips or glazes that are either applied by dipping, brushed, or sprayed. Many of my pieces are developed from slabs and thrown, or extruded pieces that have been textured, shaped, and then assembled with care.
  • Jeffery Tollefson I work in stoneware fired to cone 10. My pieces reflect the fact that I like to experiment with shapes and forms using a variety of techniques. I like the freedom found when a piece is made by putting together components made on the wheel, by the extruder, and from rolled slabs.
  • Winnie Ver Haagh I have been a potter since the early 1970s and, in addition to teaching for several years at the University of Wisconsin - Marinette, have studied my craft at several schools in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Connecticut. I am presently a member of the Wesleyan Potters in Middletown, CT. My work is primarily functional ware done in both porcelain and stoneware.
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