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Your Top Five Potters


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#1 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 07:38 PM

This was originally name your top ten potters on Clayart and spurred some interesting dialogue from people seeing the choices reflecting the aesthetics of the poster, or arguing that there is an intellectual mean for judging beauty.
I am listing my top five potters of old with a brief description of why their work attracts me. I posted examples of their work in a album Top Five Potters in my gallery.

Bernard Palissey, French 1510-1590
Self-taught . Named as the King’s Artist of Rustic ceramics.His work incorporates crustaceans, reptiles, fish, bugs, in a wild array of nature on platters. In an attempt to get his kiln to temperature during a particular firing, he was compelled to burn his furniture and then the floor board of his house.


Adelaide Robineau, 1865-1929
A Syracuse, NY Potter, she worked at the Art Academy, University City in St. Louis,along with Taxile Doat from Sevres. She was the founding publisher of Keramos Magazine and in 1932 the Ceramics National Competition in Syracuse was established in her honor. Her most famous piece was the Scarab vase, or the Thousand Hour vase which she refired several times to repair cracks.

Taxile Doat, 1851-1939
came to the US from the Sevres Porcelain factory in Paris at Robineau’s invitation He wrote Grand Feu Ceramics with Adelaide’s husband Samuel Robineau who translated it into English. Worked in the Art Academy at the People’s University in St. Louis. His forms and glazes were very advanced for his time. He and Adelaide experimented with many types of glazes including macro-crystalline glazes.

Sarah Irvine, 1887-1970
Decorator at Newcomb Pottery, Instructor Tulane University. I find her very successful in her ability to convey atmosphere of place on the round surface of a pot.

The Moche culture on the north coast of Peru in the years 100-700 A.D. I love the livelness of the images whether they are painted onto surfaces or sculpted. Both ways express emotion, human nature or raw natural existence.

So in reviewing these potters and their work I see I predominantly am attracted to a common thread; the depiction of nature in combination with the vessel. Anyone else want to post their favorites?

#2 Chris Campbell

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 09:18 PM

I love to travel so often people ask what my favorite place is.
I answer with a question ... Favorite for what?
One place will not fulfill every need.

So I cannot come up with only five potters ....

Top five for courage? Perseverance?
Top five for form, style and genius?
Top five for discovery and new techniques?
Top five for glazes, firing,
Top five for blow you away creativity?
Top five for historical importance?
Top five for longevity?

I need to be like Forbes with a 500 list ...

Chris Campbell
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#3 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 09:22 AM

As I explained, my top five are those that have had some influence on my work at some time or another.
I agree there are more for great forms, brush strokes , cool glazes, etc. I am asking what are some examples of those whose work has somehow influenced the way your aesthetic direction has developed. I'd love to see others show who has influenced them. Isn't that how we develop aesthetics?


#4 Seasoned Warrior

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 07:51 PM

My apologies, I jumped the gun. How does one delete a post on this forum?



#5 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 12:17 AM

No one seems too interested in developing any discussion here. Maybe I should rephrase this. Can you look at your work and think who have been your roots or influences? These were the concepts for the Potters Council competition for the 2011 show. If you can't think of 5 clay workers whose work has lead you down a path, can you name one or two? Can you verbalize what it is that intrigued you about their work? Anything that made you admire what they were doing? We don't live in a vacuum. Maybe other things influence your work. As Chris mentioned she travels a lot. So do I. I alway try to go to museums or find ceramic installations. My next topic was going to be my top five architectural ceramic favorites. I will keep that separate from this topic. I look through the gallery at people's work. I think I can see some influences in some of your work.Does anyone want to discuss what excites you about other people's work? I visited the Torpedo Factory in November last year. I wandered through and saw several admirable potters work. It doesn't have to be historical. I am just interested in what has influenced people. I taught in a university far away from big museums. I showed lots of slides, but I took my students to visit Archie Bray residents or to NCECA to see the shows and attend the conferences. I think part of fine tuning one's work, is reflection of your goals and finding others who have already achieved them.See how they did it. Contemplate why they succeeded.
I greatly admired Dave Shaner's pottery. I knew him, spoke with him about grasses in the creek that inspired his work. Rocks in the water that inspired his glazes. His forms were solid and sure, created with mastery of skill...that gave them visual power. I think there could be a few people in the forum's gallery who could use a little push to go look at his work and strengthen their forms. We all have room to grow.




#6 Chris Campbell

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 08:41 AM

I'll start with Julia Galloway.
The depth of her work expressed so simply through form and content.
Her work always stops me in my tracks ...
Always makes me wish I owned it so I could see it every day.

As to colored clay ....

Thomas Hoadley ...
Curtis Benzle ...
Dorothy Feibleman ....

Chris Campbell
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#7 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 08:48 AM

Thanks Chris. I have a small Galloway piece from when she was at the Bray. I love it. I am familiar with Curtus Benzle but not the others. I will go have a look. I think this could expand the repertoire for others as a resource to seek out visual information.
Marcia

#8 GEP

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 10:46 AM

I am heavily influenced by Korean pottery from roughly the 12th century and thereabouts, especially slip decoration techniques and celadon glazes. I melt into a puddle at the sight of it. I try to make modern versions of these pots.

In the realm of contemporary American potters, it's hard to choose a short list! Some of these choices are for aesthetic influences, and some are because I admire them as people and try to be like them:

Nan Rothwell
Royce Yoder
Robert Briscoe
Judith Duff
Matt Hyleck


But honestly I could edit this list many times, there are many others whose work inspires me.

Mea
Mea Rhee
Good Elephant Pottery
http://www.goodelephant.com

#9 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 12:10 PM

Mea,
I could see that Korean influence in your slip work the first time I went to your site! Thanks for reconfirming my eye. I don't know all your 5 potters but nan is a personal friend and a fine potter. I will have to google the rest to have a look and expand my knowledge. It is a hard exercise to limit to 5 but tomorrow could be a different 5.
Best wishes,

Marcia

#10 Seasoned Warrior

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 01:11 PM

That is a great question Marcia. I believe that we need to go through our mind's closet every once in a while and re-examine our motivations and our roots. I have several motivating factors. One of the earliest was my Mother. My Mother received a degree in fine arts from the Royal Academy of Art in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. My mother was born in Rostov, Russia and her influences were mostly Euro-centric and heavily Russian with a lot of fanciful flowers, lots of vivid colors and gold luster. As I grew up I drifted away from doing pottery and earned degrees in engineering. After a career in engineering I was drawn again to my roots in pottery. Many of my influences rather than being specific to a mentor or to someone I admire, tend more to stylistic periods. I particularly like the Arts and Crafts movement and I like their stylistic devices. I also like many of the Islamic designs and the aesthetics of the Islamic potters as demonstrated in the edifices of early Spain built by the Saracens and Moors such as the Alhambra.

Regards,
Charles

#11 OOF!

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 01:28 PM

Bye!
"Bye!"
-OOF!

#12 azjoe

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 02:06 PM

I'm just an infant potter... certainly too young at the craft to truly add much relevant to this discussion. But, I would hope someone (other than me) mentions Warren McKensie in their top 5. I see snippets of Japanese, Korean, and Leech influences in his work, nonetheless I'm in awe of the visual simplicity and calmness his pottery evokes in me. I sit at the wheel and try to incorporate the nuances of his feelings into simple forms, but mine seldom seem as warm and inviting as his. I remember an interview where he said he had spent many many years trying to make something as nice as a simple tea bowl he'd received as a gift (and considered it his favorite piece of pottery). He said he was never able to make a piece himself that moved him as much as that tea bowl. May I be as humble in my work.

#13 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 03:18 PM

Dear Azjoe,
You are right on about Mackenzie, aka Father of Menji-sota and the wood fire potters up there in Minnesota. Good eye! He was a Leach apprentice and I am not sure, but think he did much in Japan too. He use to have a box for people to leave money when they went to his show room unattended.
..a very gentle soul.
Marcia

#14 Seasoned Warrior

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 06:28 PM

I never really stopped to think about it but this thread has started me down the path to considering how and why I do the things I do. I guess I'm really not an artist but a mechanic instead, and I'm ok with that. I've always tended to learn things that are less abstract and more practical. I enjoy doing architectural specialties, tile, some utilitarian stuff and lately I've been making a bunch of birdhouses many of which I am not particularly happy with. I love artists and I love their production, but I'm not one.

I am actually in awe of people who see things differently than I do, I notice that I plan my work out to the nth degree while others "see what is in the clay." To me clay is an amorphous mass to be used in a planned structured way based on its mechanical and physical attributes. Oh well now I need to go and get in touch with my thoughts to see where I actually fall in the hierarchy of all things art-like :)

Best regards,
Charles (the not so artistic arteest)

#15 Chris Campbell

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 09:05 PM

When I look at other potters work and honestly wish I had thought of it or
was able to execute something like it, I know if I try it will come out forced and
awful.

Sometimes what I take from it is subtler ... an awareness of a certain gesture ...
noticing how much can be said with less ...how they use color on surfaces ..
how brave some artists are who venture out beyond safe harbors of convention.

I admire/envy those potters who get months or a year in a porcelain factoriy where they are
encouraged to experiment ... then the experts find ways to make it happen. I can just
Imagine how daunting day one is. Perhaps they will be my future favorites.

We are so fortunate to SEE things other people just walk past.

Chris Campbell
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#16 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 10:13 PM

Dear Seasoned,
You have a mature eye. When you say you are not an artist because you do not find things in the clay..doesn't mean you are not an artist. If you get a chance, read Peter Dormer's Culture of Craft. You might enjoy it. He collected essays from quite a few craftsmen discussing the reason or need we have to make things. I met Dormer when he came to Banff while I was a resident artist. I sat on a panel of artists against a panel of 3 critics to discuss media specific art. Interesting and kind man. He died after he wrote Revolution in Clay. He was a critic from the Barbizon School in London. We all approach creating in different ways. Your perception that art just pops out of the media without effort is a misnomer. Many artists design, plan and painstakingly execute their work. I gave a presentation on this at NCECA at a panel on 'Some Answers for Michael Cardew"...when he asked "Why make pots in the last quarter of the 20th century?"
Marcia

#17 Idaho Potter

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Posted 28 January 2011 - 05:29 PM

Interesting, because, like Chris, what helps you make the decision to list someone? Certainly, if you've known them personally they are in your head most of the time. In my case I'd have to start out chronologically.

Louise Thurber first introduced me to pottery. I loved to watch her work at the wheel while I sipped tea and chatted. I attended my first Raku party at her home in Escondido, CA.
I watched her manipulate clay into sculptures, and probably was the basis for my later work in altering wheel thrown pieces.

A porcelain show (can't even rmember where it was held) introduced Lucie Rie's work to me--boy, was I impressed! The simplicity and delicacy of her work is astounding.

Because I had an hour between classes at Boise State University, I filled it with a ceramic class. I had purchased work by John Takehara, and thought taking a class taught by him would be interesting. What a turning point for me. Talk about falling in love with a process. His philosophy of art and life suited me and I learned not only the craft of producing pottery, but to also look closer to how I lived my life.

Attended a Ruth Duckworth workshop during BSU years, and she tried to talk me out of working in clay. I was in my forties (she was my senior) at that time and she said studio work was very physical, and would take its toll on my body as it had on hers. She warned me that if I followed my heart's desire to consider having someone to help with the heavy lifting. Every summer I mentor a high school Junior or Senior who does just that. I am not bashful about seeking a helping hand. I greatly admire her fortitude and talent. Her porcelain wall sculptures always make me feel like I'm airborne, looking down on clouds. I may not have followed her advice, but tried to follow her example--don't quit.

Two local ceramists, Scott Brown and Jim Stoehr advised and guided me when I started my own studio. Their help and support was invaluable. Scott owns The Potter's Center where I buy most of my supplies, and has become a close friend who's advice I still seek. Regrettably, Jim passed away some years ago, and those who knew him miss him still.

Currently, I'm entranced with Robin Hopper. He is sooo down to earth in his videos and his writings. All information is delivered in the best straightforward manner--easy to understand and assimilate. I like that he comes across as having a sense of humor, about teaching, sharing, and himself. Nice guy.

I read--a lot. Over the years I've purchased many books on the subject of working with clay, but there is one book that stands out from all the rest, and one day I hope to meet that artist/author, Vince Pitelka. Any questions you have about the process, material, science or artistry of clay is in his book Clay: A Studio Handbook. So many of my books tend to get bogged down in techno language, but Pitelka has a chummy, conversational style that keeps the reading from being a chore.

Maybe this doesn't follow what the discussion was supposed to be, but as much as I might admire work that I've found in print, and seen in museums, this is my group of special ceramists who have influenced my path.

#18 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 07:48 AM

Dear Idaho,
How lucky you were to study with John Takehara. He was one of the best potters in the region. Being from Montana, next door, I am very familiar with his work. We each garner what we have the opportunity to discover in our own lives. Sounds like you had some truly remarkable experiences. I like your Ruth Duckworth story.
Best regards,
Marcia

#19 phill

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 02:44 AM

my top 5:

1. in the beginning, it was bernard leach/warren mackenzie. they helped shape a lot of philosophy i hold for pottery.
2. then it was my school prof, kirk freeman. reasons are obvious i think. he was my first real visual idea of what pottery is, and opened my eyes to pottery in the first place.
3. shadow may, a current potter. his work can be found here: shadowpottery.com. he has a really great playfulness and illusion of ease or simplicity that i really enjoy. he introduced me to soft pottery.
4. then SC Rolf, as i am his current apprentice and learning lots from him. he is educating me a ton about the details of every piece of pottery. all the things we do and dont do to a pot count. all of them say something. he has really matured my eye for pots and my views of different pottery, as well as my own work.
5. todd holmberg. current potter that graduated from my alma mater. ive just always loved that he graduated from my school as a potter too and gave me hope as a potter without even knowing it.

#20 soursop

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Posted 29 June 2011 - 02:47 PM

For me it began with Peter Voulkos because his deliberate manipulation of pots suddenly made me realize that just making a pot is not the end. They don't have to be viewed as these delicate little creations to be craddled whenever handled (at least until they're bisqued.) Mason and Soldner played some role in a further appreciation for the pot's evolution towards sculpture since trip to Scripps college allowed me to touch and feel and hold their pieces early on.

Next was Stephen Freedman. Once I moved to Hawaii I was introduced to his impressive, massive, abstract sculptures that so beautifully graced his tended and tighty garden spaces. The juxtaposition of his raw but beautiful sculpture in such a calm and beautiful setting lead me to begin thinking of pieces as just that, pieces within the world, and how they will ultimately fit in with what is put around them.

Nearly at the same time, I was introduced to Clayton Amemiya. Clayton's work and the display of it was so unassuming. It was perfection through imperfection. Pieces I as a human could actually relate to, that made me feel comfortable. It made me see that what I had fallen in love with so many years earlier, the imperfect pot, displayed by Voulkous, Mason, Soldner and the like, was actually something that should not be forced, but rather given the space and means to develop as an organic occurence, and by doing so, it actually carried more beauty and strength even though it was more subtle.

My fourth and fifth great influences are Shimaoka Tatsuzo and Lee Kang Hyo, respectively. Japanese and Korean Pottery embody that idea of being perfect through their imperfection. Both are highly skilled and techniquely astute cultures, but these cultures and the two individuals I mentioned above in particular have found a way to blend harmoniously with the material they use. Their pieces do not stand out as attention seeking when placed in a natural setting, but rather blend so well that you may think that they were actually created by nature's hand, and I guess in a way, they were.




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