My friends, Tim and Pam Frye, make wonderful whimsical and functional pottery that walks a timely tightrope between retro and contemporary. A good half of their “line” is as much sculpture as pottery.
|Frye Butter Keepers|
But beyond the wonderful pottery they make, for the past 3 years they’ve also committed themselves to educating the population around rural Effingham, IL in the craft and art of making pottery.
Three years ago they scoured the countryside for pottery equipment (wheels), put out what advertising was necessary (as it turned out – not much. The demand was already high), and opened their shop to teaching weekly classes. They now have as many students as the two of them can handle year-‘round.
It was for that reason I spent much of my weekend bending Tim’s and Pam’s ears to the details of teaching in one’s studio. They generously answered every question, and even answered many questions that I didn’t know enough about teaching to ask.
At one point, Tim and I were talking about the difficulty of teaching something that we’ve done for so long that what we’re doing has long since become a part of our autonomic potter system (Tim and Pam are also 30+-years into this pottery life).
Tim related that the gap between his nearly unconscious skill level – what he does effortlessly and without thought – and the student's complete unfamiliarity with clay, makes Tim appear to them as though he is doing something nearly akin to supernatural.
This gap and perception was highlighted one evening as Tim was demonstrating how to throw a bottle on the wheel. And (wouldn’t you know it), as sometimes happens, the bottle got away from him. Perhaps just a thin area in the wall. Maybe a harder lump amid the soft clay. It happens. Whatever the reason, the bottle flopped.
“He’s HUMAN!” exclaimed one of his students.
….and that’s when Tim zapped ‘er dead with his laser vision.