These are a sample of things I've made and are in chronological order beginning with some of the first pots I made in February of 2012. I'll keep adding pots at the end of the gallery as I make them and subtracting them at the beginning as I become embarrassed by them. During my first year, I was donating or discarding at least 75% of my pots. I like to experiment but most of my experiments resulted in what I call "Frankensteins." I guess I didn't know what else to call them when I was standing next to the kiln at the Hawaii Potters Guild as they were handing out pots that had just been fired. That's always a hopeful time, when the kiln's being unloaded and you're waiting for one of your pots to emerge. Then someone steps inside, reaches deep in the kiln and steps back with a pot that looks familiar. "Uh oh," I say to myself, "Is that hideous thing mine? That can't be the glaze I used cause it looks nothing like the test tile." I glance around at the other potters in the room and, like Peter, I'm tempted to deny I ever knew this pot. It passes from one person to another on its way to the shelves, each one shuddering as they pitch it to the next person like a hot potato. Then a lady hands it to me, arches one eyebrow and says "Is that yours?" The way she says "that" sums up all the negatives of the pot and the way she says "yours" sounds accusatory, the sort of tone the police use just before they slip on the handcuffs. "Yeah," I laugh nervously, "It's a Frankenstein." Okay, my batting average has gone up a little the last few years, but most of my pots still end up in the dumpster or on the donation shelf. I guess even the most misshapen pots will last over 10,000 years, but they're not doing it on my shelf!
But sometimes experiments work out well. When they do, I'm surprised by what I've created and feel that someone else must have made it, that what's standing in front of me has gone past my present skill. Certainly the clay, the glazes, and the fire make their own unpredictable contributions, which means I can never be in total control of the creative process. I still try to control the process as much as I can, I try to become more skilled at what I'm doing, but I've noticed that if I control it too much, I stop seeing new things and my work becomes too typical and predictable. Many of my best designs come from mistakes I've made and the improvising that happens as a result. I think it's better for me not to be in too much control, not to rely too much on my ideas about what the clay must become before I touch it. One day, when I get too good at what I'm doing, I hope I can change the way I'm making pots, to try something new so I can make mistakes again. It's in this place where skill meets serendipity that art is born. If potters are artists, they're artists because they share this common ground, this unstable creative space, with painters and sculptors.
I've included descriptions for most of my pieces. They start with the name of the clay, then the glaze(s) I used, other information that might be helpful, and the dimensions of the pot. The galleries are a record of what glazes look like on different clay bodies and will be especially helpful to potters at the Hawaii Potters Guild and the Honolulu Museum of Art School at Linekona, but they may be helpful to potters using similar glazes at other studios. I've included pots with flaws such as warping and slumping because I like the basic design. A few of the pots have chips and cracks. Sometimes pots would chip or crack because I kept bumping them into things while they were still fragile, others had pieces pop off during the firing because the edges were too sharp, but usually they cracked because I was impatient and dried them too quickly. Experience is a relentless teacher. If you don't learn something the first time, experience will teach you a second time, and a third time, and a fourth time... Better to learn the first time since the tuition is so high.
If you have questions about any of the pots presented here, please write or email me. If you're interested in possible commissions, please email me or give me a call.