Born and raised in Massachusetts, I came to Tucson in the 60’s to study art and architecture at the University of Arizona. The tumult of that era quickly ended my studies and while living in an abandoned homestead in the nearby Catalina Mountains met two young potters who urged me to try my hand on the wheel.
I immediately knew this was something I wanted to devote myself to. Soon thereafter, in 1973, I moved to the small, old mining town of Bisbee in southeastern Arizona. I had the very good fortune to meet a skilled potter, Charlie Nelson, who had recently moved there from Utah and he took me on as an apprentice.
Bisbee in that epoch was a very inexpensive place to live and seemed to exist outside of the hustle and bustle of contemporary culture, a good place to get started in an artistic career. I bought a house for $750, built a small kiln and have been a full time potter there now for over forty years.
Although I am essentially self taught I owe much to Charlie Nelson and workshops I’ve attended with inspiring potters such as Ken Ferguson, John Reeve and Mick Casson.
I now live on 120 acres about ten miles outside of town, off High Lonesome Rd. in Mexican Canyon. Here I have a small off-the-grid home and studio and three wood fueled kilns, two for high fire salt glaze and one for earthenware.
An important part of my life was working with the international organization Potters for Peace, serving as U.S. director from 2003 to 2012 and working as a technical consultant on PFP projects.
Potters for Peace assists developing world potters, especially in Nicaragua and has developed a low tech ceramic water filter technology package. Using this technology a filter production facility can be started up virtually anywhere in the world in about a month. I urge you to check out www.pottersforpeace.org.
About my work – Pottery is one of mankind’s oldest crafts and alongside its function related to food and drink, has always been a means of self expression as well. The achievements of potters through the centuries are awe inspiring.
I make primarily functional ware for use in the home and can only hope that my work secures some humble little place in that historical context while satisfying contemporary needs. I’ve always been attracted to earthenware pottery; usually it’s what I bring home from my travels and I am fortunate to have fine local clay with which to explore this particular facet of ceramics. The relatively low temperatures and clean atmosphere of an electric kiln provide a context for the challenging exploration of decorative techniques.
And as much as I like earthenware I also enjoy a chance to go to the dizzying temperatures and intimate interaction with the kiln which only wood firing provides. Salt glazing adds even more drama and unpredictability; the results can be very good and very bad with the potter being just one ingredient, on an equal footing with everything else in the process.