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.
We have moved. My wife has taken an exciting new job at The First Presbyterian Church of Springfield Illinois LincolnsChurch.org and so we have moved the pottery to Pawnee, Illinois. It is a huge move. I am in the process of fitting out a studio and building a large train kiln. I hope to be able to fire for the first time here in February or March. In the mean time there is so much to do.
This past May, ceramic artist, author and podcaster Benjamin Carter came out to Mill Creek Pottery to be our Guest Artist at the Intimate Anagama Workshop. Benjamin demonstrated throwing techniques and spoke about his work and the way he thinks about functional pottery. It was fantastic to demo in the studio alongside Ben. While he was there he also did recodered several podcats. The first of which was an interview with me as I talk about woodfiring, my own work, hosting a workshop, having apprentices and moving the pottery to Illinois. More info and the podcast itself is available at TalesofaRedClayRambler.com
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.