In March of 2016 I traveled to Peru to study the pots of their pre-columbian cultures. The ancient artifacts and architecture I was exposed to were overwhelming. I visited the Larco museum which has a collection of over 300,000 pieces and ceramic vessels stacked as far as the eye can see. Sites like Pachacamac, Tambomachay, and Machu Picchu which have survived centuries of earthquake and weather still stand with such force and energy it was impossible not to be completely consumed by their power. The poverty was sad but the culture was rich and after seeing all of these incredible things I can only image what it must of looked like before the Spanish came and raped, looted, and murdered everyone in the name of god. I had taken a bunch of art supplies with me to give out to the children of Cuzco and one of my fondest memories from the trip was when I gave a young boy who was selling souvenirs down a small ally a Star Wars coloring book. Two hours later I went down that same ally to find the boy still coloring I feel bad he probably didn't sell a lot of stuff because he was enjoying his new book but it was really incredible to see the power that art has to lift the spirit. This trip was incredible in so many ways and I am so very grateful to have had such an opportunity.
Impromtu Empty Bowls interview...
Master ceramists Paul Jay demonstrating the ancient Japanese firing technique of RAKU at the SRU Pot Shop
Experimenting with ancient pottery techniques we dug our clay from a riverbank nearby and built a small kiln which we fired with debris from around camp.
In April 2015 I had the privilege of selling some work along side some of Pittsburghs best potters at the Union Project. The Union Project promotes positive social change through the arts to find out more about their efforts visit their website www.unionproject.org
Huge thank you to everyone who came out and showed their support for the Potter's Guild. With your help we raised $720 in just two hours. We have big plans for next year and with support like that, the sky is the limit!
Went exploring at an abandoned pipe factory. At one time during ww2 this place made and shipped pipes all over the world it was in operation up until the 80's. The metal bands on the top of the kilns would be adjusted throughout the firing as the kiln expanded and contracted. Each chimney connects to about four kilns all but one have had there dome roofs caved in. Pretty incredible to think of how alive this site was and how in less than 100 years the place has been left to rot. Very cool to witness the Earth reclaiming this once productive site. The kilns were so massive you could have fit several school buses one on top the other with in them. The clay and coal was sourced from the site and there are still old pipes stacked as far as the eye could see.
Sculptural Objects and Functional Art convention (SOFA) 2013
Master Potter Ibukunoluwa Ayoola (IBK) traveled all the way from Nigeria to share his techniques with students of the SRU Pot Shop. Together with Potters Water Action Group IBK is working to build a water filter factory in his village which will save the lives of thousand of children. To learn more about these life saving ceramic filters and to get involved with the project visit their website at potterswateractiongroup.org.
National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts convention (NCECA) 2014