Looking Forward

A potter’s life is all about cycles…I made pots like mad this winter, tucked away in my studio in the woods, and then 3 firings in a few short weeks before, as the last pots are cooling, loading up the van and putting in some miles to do the shows needed to pay the bills. I love it all! The quiet days of making coupled with intense bursts of human interaction suit me at this point in life. Since my return from Minnesota I have been putting things in order and finishing off the new studio that I began earlier this year. With nothing urgent on the calendar it’s good to slow the pace down (just a bit!) and take care of some of the projects that are too easily avoided when I’m in the middle of a throwing jag. I know I am not alone in this, but once I sit down on the wheel, most everything else slides from view and I become single minded…fill those boards, fill that kiln…it remains a compelling process for me after many years.

Slowing down does not mean that I am ‘bone idle’ as my British friends might say, but there is time to watch some of the great international soccer tournaments taking place! But, perhaps more importantly, I’ve been working with the folks at the Hill Center in D.C. as we plan the 5th year of “Pottery on the Hill”. The show has grown each year and this year’s will be bigger and better than ever. You can see Sam Taylor in the background of this photo doing his best Jack Benny impression. Sam and Haynes Bayless will be driving the P.O.W. Truck to our nation’s capital, bringing their unique mobile pottery education vehicle to add another layer to our modest ‘onion’ of a show. I am also writing an article about the show that we hope will find a publisher. Don’t forget to mark the last week-end of October to join us.

I have a plan to make a fountain in the next few weeks and then back to Buffalo for a family reunion before heading back to the Cotswolds. This is the “goof off and enjoy life” part of the cycle. Life is good!



Pots for the Holidays!

I never imagined the interest in my Brown Friday sale would be so keen.

With plenty of pots remaining we will continue to sell them at LibertyTown until our Open House (December 12th).

I will have ALL NEW WORK ready on the 12th including a NEW FLOCK OF BIRDS!

Today was the day I had to change gears from a pottery maker to a chemist. I spent the day measuring out glaze material and mixing and sieving some of my old standards:

Amber Ash, Runny Ash and dry Crackle Slip are regulars.

I also tested some colored slips, as I get closer to finishing my gas fired salt kiln I’m beginning to think more concretely about the surfaces I want to achieve.

Always so much to do, like take more photos for my online store!


Autumn is my favorite season and it was made even more interesting 3 years ago when we opened the doors for the very first “Pottery on the Hill” exhibition and sale. I never did many shows myself, which makes me an unlikely organizer of an event like this, but with plenty of good advise and with the great support of the staff at the Hill Center we have built a wonderful PB033711event that brings great handmade pottery to our nation’s capital. This year’s dates are October 30 – November 1. On Thursday evening we will be presenting a “Pottery Slam” at the Art League School in Alexandria. Sam Taylor, Mark Shapiro and I will be making pots together, sharing idas and generally having a good time. Please consider joining us and supporting some of America’s best makers!

Virginia Earth: Ceramic Arts at the Portsmouth Arts and Cultural Center

This exhibition runs until October 18th. Artists include Sukjin Choi, David Crane, Kevin Crowe, Randy and Catherine Edmonson, Dan Finnegan, Warren Frederick, Steven Glass, Silvie Granatelli, Chris Gryder, Diane Hottenstein, Mike Jabbur, Marlene Jack, John Jessiman, Elizabeth Kendall, Andrea Keys, Barbra Kobylinska, Josh Manning, Dale Marhanka, Stephen Marder, Richard Nickel, Adam Paulek, Bill Pinkham, Brian Pitney, Donna Polseno, Ellen Shankin, Akiko Tanaka and Catherine White.

You might imagine that I have returned home to kick up my feet and savor the adventures of the summer so far, but with 2 exhibitions and 3 shows between now and the end of October I have  gone right back into the studio and gotten back on the wheel. I am using some of the new (to me) Starworks clay bodies, making planters to fill the bottom layer of my kiln. I have a scheme thanks to Claude and Toff, my Czech partners and kiln mavens, to get much more heat to the bottom, but until I can prove it works I put pots that seem less risky there. Speaking of Claude these little ying and yang vases came as a result of a little moment that he and I took to play with something I was going to discard.P1030333

On The Road Again

I was born and grew up in Buffalo, New York and I’ve lived in Fredericksburg, Virginia since 1980, but I also call a little picturesque village on the edge of the Cotswolds home as well. I spent the late 1970’s living there in the west of England, mostly as the teaboy and general dogsbody at the Winchcombe Pottery. It was there that I met, among many other wonderful characters, Toff Milway. Toff and I became fast friends and when he and his wife Georgie began their own business down the road I started spending summers there, helping out in any way I could to earn my keep and do my part. I’ve been there dozens of times now…for birthdays and a few christmases, kiln building and most importantly, plum picking. They are great friends and my life is infinitely richer for that. I am turning 60 next month and I’m not too keen on that number so, in an effort to distract myself, I am returning to spend a few weeks, visiting with old friends and seeing a bunch of theatre (I speak both American AND British!) and looking after the place for a bit while Toff and Georgie travel.

The weather, of course, is rather grim in the winter and I’m packing every warm bit of clothing that I own. I’m also hoping that there is plenty of peat for the fireplace.CIMG6994 The British are a hardy people! I’m sure that I can use a little toughening up! Back in the summer of 2012 I began writing a series of blogs about those early and formative days in England. I think it’s the best of my very modest attempts to be a writer. You can still find ’em by scrolling back on the Journal section of my website.

I hope to add more to that series this trip. Something about treading on that same ground and viewing that same landscape and hearing the melodies of the British language makes it easy to remember.

Best Wishes to one and all for an excellent 2015!


Potters of Madison County

studio-banner-1.1I am pleased to announce that I have been invited to this 5th annual show in Marshall, North Carolina on April 5th, 2014. It’s nice to return to NC again with my work and to share a venue with plenty of other fine potters.

If you can’t make that show perhaps you can join Gay Smith, Ronan Peterson and me in Ohio at the Wooster Functional workshop. We three will be this year’s presenters later in April.

Dan Finnegan – Star of Stage and Screen

Several years ago I was asked to be the subject of a short film by a young local filmmaker, Timothy Ryan Poe. It was an interesting process and I really like what he did. If you know me at all, you know that I can be a bit overenthusiastic, but this film shows a very different side of me. Ryan knew very little about my world and my work and I deliberately avoided shaping the film. I wanted to see what he would find interesting. As a result it is less of an action film than a ‘talkie’ with some really cool scenes of my studio, kiln and the property where I work. And there are several  little short films included…my favorite is seeing a pot made from directly above!

The filming happened during a very hot spell and I look like hell….my friends hate this photo, but it’s a reality show! No make-up here!

I have plenty of copies available. $15.00 which includes shipping in the US. Let me know via email or facebook and I’ll post it right away.


Ryan's video

Murder in the Library

I’ve learned from Tony Clennell that a catchy title can draw a lot of readers, so, if you’ve made your way here, we can both thank Tony!

So, I’ve been making variations on these birds for a 4 years or so and I’ve tried to continue to find new ways to go forward.

Lately (actually it’s been a year or more) I’ve been thinking of creating dioramas…putting the birds in scenes and/or groups. This first one takes a macabre twist, inspired, I suppose by my affection for detective novels…Sherlock Holmes, John Rebus, Inspector Morse, Poirot, ad infinitum. The yellow knife is a substitute….I plan on using the plastic sword from cheesy bar drinks, the ones that often skewer a cherry in your Shirley Temple!

I was showing it off to Ellie, my brilliant 7 year old friend, and she made a suggestion that made my wish I had thought of it before her. But that doesn’t mean that I’m above stealing it, so stay tuned for the next chapter (that’s a hint). I guess the lesson there is this – “Pottery, so easy even a 7 year old can do it”!P1010826 P1010827

Recent Acquisitions!

Matthew Metz

Matthew Metz

I had a visit at the studio today from John and Kathy, old friends who have been buying my pots for a VERY long time. They showed me a photo of their newly painted display case that contains a lovely retrospective of the last 20 years or so of my work! Having made and sold pots in the same town for almost 34 years now, there are a number of ‘shrines’ to my work in the area! Isn’t that right, Boots? and Lou and Jerry? and Steve and Nicky? and Dave and Diane? (you get the idea). I lay claim to several additions being built to make room for even more pots!

I have a pretty sweet collection myself, with a heavy focus on British pots and the color brown. I made some sweet additions lately as I was on the road and I spent a little time tonight in my photo studio for your (and my) viewing pleasure!

Bandana Pottery...Michael Hunt & Naomi Dalglish

Bandana Pottery…Michael Hunt & Naomi Dalglish

Fork Mountain pottery Kent & Suzi

Fork Mountain Pottery…Kent McLaughlin & Suzi Lindsay

Julie Wiggins
Julie Wiggins


Searching for Momentum

Tile makingWith a good size kiln to fill. my making cycle is a long one and I seem to  creep up on the next  one somewhat stealthily. I was on the road for most of 3 weeks and it was weeks before that when i made the last pot for the last firing (#16). I tend to concentrate on projects that make life in the studio easier or make the place more beautiful before I open that first box of clay. Once that happens, obsession kicks in and all other things fade away as making and then finishing the next pot is all that matters. It’s good to know myself in this way in order to outwit myself. But today I made the first foray back to the mud, making some bag wall tiles from reclaim clay. Pottery making madness will soon ensue.