In 1993 I fell in love with the movement of flame through a wood-kiln. Its sensuous quality is something I seek to capture in my work with soft forms, full curves and flame paths etched into the surface. This quest led me to an M.F.A. from the University of Iowa. I now own Mill Creek Pottery in Wisconsin, where my apprentices and I work to advance the cause of wood-fired pottery.
In 2013 I was a Fulbright Senior Scholar in Taiwan exploring the potential of local materials. Recently I have been a visiting artist, lecturer and kiln builder at The China Academy of the Arts in Hangzhou. There my apprentices and I have been bringing a technology that originated in Asia and has evolved in the incubator of the United States back to Asia. Clay is central to my life.
Talk about niche marketing…. Working with Ceramics Arts Network we produced two videos that are available for download, DVD copy and streaming here.
One video covers the techniques behind throwing off the hump, which allows for a really playful fluid studio practice. I also talk about how to avoid S-cracks and even throwing plates off the hump.
I am really pleased with the second video, in which Jacob Meer and I load my large anagama. We talk about stacking, loading and wadding techniques. There is nothing quite like this video out there in the community, probably because it is pretty technical and had very narrow appeal. Though I must say it is well done.
Both videos are intended to be a help to potters everywhere as we share knowlege and advance the frontiers of ceramic art.
Watch the clips below
New NEW Mill Creek Apprentice
On August 12th 2019 Daniel Pfohl had his first day at Mill Creek South as Brian Chen’s Junior Apprentice. Well actually he is my apprentices but calling him this makes Brian feel really good. It’s kind of a reward for all of Brian’s hard work.
Daniel and his wife Katie moved from Rochester New York to Springfield Illinois to settle here for a while. Dan is making pots and building kilns with me, while Katie is beginning her professional career as a licensed Physical Therapist.
Daniel is an experience welder, he has been making pottery for 11 years and has a teaching degree, MST from RIT.
Dan’s Bio as of now reads:
He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School for American Crafts at Rochester Institute of Technology in 2018. His interest in ceramics began in high school, when he was invited by a girl to go to the open studio hour after school. He promptly fell in love with clay and the girl. In 2014 Daniel married the love of his life Katie, and in 2016 they moved to Rochester where Daniel resumed his education at RIT.
Daniel makes functional pottery for daily use, and hopes to encourage the user to pause, reflect, and enjoy the present moment. His work is influenced by nature where fields, forests, and the horizon provide information for decoration and form. Daniel was selected for the 2016 RIT Honors Student Show at the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, NY and was also selected for ‘The Almighty Cup’ a juried show at Gandee Gallery in Fabius, NY. In 2017 he was included in the BFA Honors Exhibition at the Bevier Gallery at RIT. Daniel held his thesis show "Room to Breath" at the Flower City Art's Center in Rochester, NY April of 2018. He is continuing his education receiving a Masters of Science for Teachers and is now apprenticed to Simon Levin at Mill Creek Pottery.
In 2015 I ran an Indiegogo Campaign, and with the support of many we re-built some of the wood kilns, bought a new electric kiln, and revitalized the studio. One of the perks was the creation of this book. For the past 14 years I have been saving some of the best pots from each firing for my children.
We inventoried, photographed and recorded the collection and in the process we made this lovely book. Blurb publishing produces an extremely high quality product and I am pleased to make this collection available online.