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.
New Mill Creek Appretince
On February 5th 2019 Brian Chen started his apprenticeship with me. We are excited to have him and see where his work develops. You can and should follow him on Instagram
Brian’s self written bio says: “I grew up in New Jersey focusing my studies on science while spending most of my free time playing tennis. Naturally, like every 12 year-old, I thought I was going to play professionally but within 5 years my dreams were shot down by kids better and younger than me. So I decided tennis at Colorado College would suit me just fine and studied biology with the hope of going into physical therapy. During my freshman year, my friend brought me down to the clay studio and taught me how to throw. Not to be outdone by the learning curve of throwing, I took up the challenge and learned by watching other people, taking tips from videos, and cutting pots in half. Soon, I had a routine of balancing academics, tennis and ceramics for the rest of my time at college. Half-way into my senior year, I decided to switch career paths and pursue ceramics. I understood that I had much to learn and was fortunate enough to take workshops with Matt Kelleher, Simon Levin, and Tom & Maggie Jaszczak following graduation. I reached out at Simon mid December asking to be his apprentice to further develop my eye in form, aesthetic, and balance while also learning more about atmospheric firings and running my own studio. I hope to take what I learn from this apprenticeship to open my own studio, explore the honesty of clay, and find solace in this inherently meaningless world. “
Workshop Opportunity: La Meridiana, Certaldo, Italy October 2019
In November of 2017 I spent a month at this lovely school, making pots, friends, and plans. I learned a bunch of Italian and drank a lot of wine, and tested a lot of clays. We designed a new kiln, and I was invited back to teach a woodfire workshop in a new kiln that will be built. Want to join me?
We are going to make a lot of work, cover a lot of ground and fire at least twice. Expect to leave filled with good food and knowlege.
Registration is not open yet, but contact the school and let them know if you are interested. EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
In 2014 my apprentices Lars Voltz, Kelsie Rudolph and I traveled to Hangzhou China. There we built two kilns for China Academy of the Arts. I was hired to return December 2015 to teach firing and loading techniques. We fired 3 times while there.The process is documented on instagram and Facebook under the hashtag #FireInChina. Josh Copus a wood fire potter from North Carolina joined me in this excursion.