1972: The First Pottery

In 1972, shortly after completing my undergrad at Amherst, I moved to Laveen, Arizona and started my first pottery. My brother had died and left me just enough money to buy 3 acres and a very dilapidated house and shop in a rural area of cotton fields and orange groves southwest of Phoenix. I initially sold work in Arizona, then in some national craft galleries and craft fairs I traveled to.

This is when I began making stoneware and my first flameproof pottery. The flameware was mostly teapots, drip coffee pots, yogurt makers, casseroles and frying pans. My stoneware was similarly functional. Learning to make successful flameware was a real struggle. Ron Probst had published a formula on flameware, and I had visited and spent time researching flameware materials at the library of Alfred University’s College of Ceramics library.  Bill Sax, a potter in South Hadley, MA  provided me some generous help as well. Ultimately, I realized that my well water had so many minerals in it that I had to make flameware there with distilled water.

While very few photos seem to have survived from this time, I can see the incipient through-line to my current  work in flameware. I still work in a straightforward way that doesn’t hide the marks of a pot’s creation. And I can’t look at this photo without missing Franklin, one of the great dogs of a lifetime.

I also remodeled the house here, the first steps that would lead me to remodel and build more sophisticated homes for my family and studio space for me.