Monday, January 11, 2010

Memory Monday: The Potter's Story

As I was wondering what memory I could write about, Mike asked me to rewrite or edit what he'd written for his Etsy store profile. Then, it occurred to me that some of you might be interested in the story behind the pottery. So here is my revision. This is what you will later find on klaytivity.com (If you English experts see any other edits, feel free to comment.)

"Born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, I grew up and attended school in Milwaukee and high school in Racine. After a year of working in electronics, I attended John Brown University with a major in Electrical Engineering. But two years later, I went on a "short term" missions trip to Europe and ended up staying there eleven years. In Europe, I met Rita, who grew up in Argentina. After we were married, we lived and worked in Germany and Austria. Later, with our three children, we joined the crew of the ship Doulos, yet another arm of Operation Mobilization, the mission I had joined out of college. My work there again was in electronics, computers and sound systems.
After returning to the US in 1983, I worked part time and eventually full time at Taylor University, doing repair work and maintaining the phone system. In 1986, I went to work for Ontario Systems where I remained twenty three years, until April of 2009. 
I have always tended toward design and engineering but never toward art, so I thought. A few months before retirement I started dabbling in clay and was soon hooked. Since then my interest has expanded into several areas.
After throwing about twenty earthenware pots, I had the bright idea of single firing, and thought I could do that cheaply in a sawdust kiln. In the process, I lost about half of my work.  Thinking I had simply fired too fast, I slowed down the burn the second time, and again lost all but four of some twenty pots. 
Until then I had learned everything I knew about clay through reading and watching YouTube.  After these two disasters I consulted an art teacher at the local university.  He informed me that I needed to bisque fire first. bisque--I had heard that word before but somehow missed the meaning.
Within a short time, I had acquired an electric kiln that my niece had in storage.  The first bisque firing was completely successful, as was the sawdust firing that followed!  I have since built a Raku kiln and used it for both American Raku and horsehair, with good results.  The small wood kiln I built with free brick like the sawdust kiln, has not been used yet, still waiting for warmer weather.
Our house has a two story solarium and I have been able to convert the lower level into a pottery studio, small but adequate, with a beautiful view.  Last fall I was able to show my work at the ArtsWalk in Muncie, IN, and I hope to expand in that area.
I love the versatility of clay and the seemingly infinite possibilities for creative work.  Whoever would have thought that an engineer would enjoy pottery?"

5 comments:

SmallTownRunner said...

Nicely done.

Kim said...

Muy interesante!
Learned some things I didn't know before :-)

skoots1mom said...

pottery is fun...love the bio...great job!

You had mentioned you like my collages...I used Picasa3...I downloaded it from the web and it works great...has lots of editing features and is easy to use. I especially love the collage feature...it has a button as your working with your pictures so you can constantly rearrange them until you get them the way they look best!

Lhoyt said...

I'm constantly amazed at how much you get squeezed into a lifetime. Muy bien diez en "admiracion"

SmallTownRunner said...

Hey, I also wanted to tell you I'm granting you the Happy 101 award, but my post about it won't be up until Friday, so you'll have to check my blog then...