Monday, March 25, 2013


It’s been a long time, huh? 

 I intended to come back and finish that post that contained my best guesses about pricing. Really, I did. I figured, this being winter, I’d have plenty of time to get back around to it. 

 I’ve got lots of pots done in the meantime. Never enough, but lots. 

And I’ve had a number of very flattering emails from folks kind enough to tell me that they read this blog, enjoy it, and wondering whether I’d be continuing with it. I’m honored that anyone would take the time to read my ramblings. Life is busy for everyone these days, and I know that my posts aren’t always quick reads.
Beyond that, I know this Is supposed to be a blog about pottery, but it ends up being full of stories about my dogs, my music, my sports analogies – everything but pottery. Nobody has complained. I may never have attracted many readers, but I attracted an uncommonly kind and encouraging group of readers. 

 But I think the main reason I never returned to the blog is that I knew I was getting pretty near the end of my life as a potter. As such, I couldn’t figure out a way to have much to say about the life I knew I was soon leaving behind.

I’ve tried to keep this blog fun, upbeat, sometimes funny (at least, as funny as I can make it), and an encouragement to the pottery world. It’s a great life we have, this creative life in clay. And though I can’t help but be aware of the discouraging aspects – an academic world that mostly discourages it, a cultural trend away from heirloom thinking, and just the general cussedness of clay, fire, and water that makes the results (AFTER all the hard work) nearly as often devastating as thrilling – I always wanted this blog to be a place where readers could suffer those discouragements, but still come here and read the reasons that make it worth carrying on.

And now, ironically, I find that I cannot.

The immediate plan is to find work. Dar and I will both be looking for work (we have dozens of applications already submitted). The best we can hope for at this point is a full time job at as much over minimum wage as I can find -- and a part time job in addition to that. Dar will also be looking for a part time job and manage the sales of whatever pots we have left in stock. 

As soon as we find the jobs, we will be selling the house and pottery and trying to find a smaller and more efficient place to move into.

I’ll probably have to rent some space to store the pottery equipment in hopes that someday I may return to making pots. I could never again reaccumulate the kind of equipment I’ve amassed over 33 years. 

Realistically, I doubt I’ll ever again make the same work I’ve been making. For one thing, I’m guessing that I’ll probably be looking into firing electric if I ever manage to set up a garage or basement studio. I’ll have lots of new ropes to learn if I ever get back to it – different glazes and clays, marketing that doesn’t involve travel, figuring out how to fire only on weekends or days off – all stuff that thousands of potters deal with every day (there’re probably more non-professional than professional potters). I admire the heck out of weekend and late night potters. I really do. It’s a level of commitment and energy that I’m not sure everyone is capable of. Salute!

I haven’t decided what to do with the blog – whether to carry on and share the adventure of my change of direction, or whether to just leave it up as an archive. 

 Anyway, it’s been a worthwhile venture, this blog. It put me in touch with a whole family of potters whom I would probably never have met otherwise, as they don’t do art fairs. I’ve enjoyed others' blogs as well, and enjoyed the times when the same idea would echo throughout the blogging world -- giving an enjoyable multifaceted view of an issue that could never have been gained any other way.

I’ve got several shows scheduled (all the way through July. October , if I include invitations), and that’s what I’ll be aiming for – make as much as I can at them -- until some job comes through for me -- at which point I’ll cancel the remainder of the schedule and begin the transition. 

Thanks for reading! It’s been a pleasure.


  1. John, sorry to hear the news. Even if you are not making pottery I for one could stand an occasional music video. Best of luck on whatever road you and Dar follow.

  2. Dear John, We wish you both best wishes and all the luck in making it work out. I was saddened to read about one less GREAT potter making beautiful, useful pots but I am sure you will get back into it at some level when time and space allows. Thanks for sharing your professional life, your music, and your philosophy with us. As long as these pages sit empty of new entries, we will miss you. Until then, you will remain in our thoughts!

  3. Good luck to you and Dar, John; hope to hear about your future adventures here.

  4. John, I hope that you will find a way to continue to make pottery a part of your life. I think we all thought this would last forever and now I think we should be raising organic things that people will eat. Eating has taken over the art world with handcrafted meals being made that folks just flock to. It is more important what you eat, not what you eat on or off of. I hope that something else that you want to do comes your way.
    And whatever it is keep up the writing. You have a way with words.
    Maybe we need to start a retirement community of potters.....are you in?

  5. Well didn't I just blow coffee out my nose! Agree keep up the writing, blog or no blog nice to log the journey, I find there are always stories. I was up until 2:30 am finishing a ppt presentation of my 30 years in mud. After I crawled under the sheets I thought, so many of the things you just wrote about. I've walked away 3 times over the years, once selling my equipment. Now, back on my terms and still work part time in garden design. My biggest frustration was trying to find a job. Don't feel over the hill and felt I had accumulated some experience, it was a bit of a shock. Finally figured out if I was going to keep working I had to work for myself..... Estate gardening does pay the bills and leaves potting to the colder months, thankfully my bitter half carries the life insurance through his job. Wishing nothing but the best! You and your pots will be deeply missed....... Oh and get the 64 crayon box of colors!

  6. Boy, that gives me a sad, but I have enjoyed your blog, whether about pots or life or pets or music so I hope you'll check in from time to time. All the best for a successful and happy transition.

  7. Oh, I will miss seeing your beautiful pots and all that your have taught me through your blog. I kept checking the blog hoping to read what you had been making, and I am so saddened to hear this! I do hope that you will continue to update us on your success in whatever you decide to do in the future. I wish you the best!

  8. The struggle/your struggle is familiar to most of us, I'm sure. I've contemplated other career possibilities many times, especially when considering how our struggle impacts our kids future.

    But I guess I'm stubborn and selfish and we seem to get by. We're in a very good location, near Penland School, but for the past 4 years we've seen that walk-in traffic almost disappear. It's a tough time.

    Your blog has always been a favorite. WHatever you wrote about, you wrote with a zeal and a great witty sense of humor. Great storytelling!

    I, for one, hope to stay in touch. If not the blog, maybe Facebook?
    I respect your bold decision and wish you all the best in your quest!!

  9. Good luck John. I think you are an amazing potter and to hear that you are moving on gives me pause. I hope you'll keep us all posted here or on FB as to what's going on in the future. Best wishes.

  10. Thanks for all the kind comments and well-wishes. I feel like I owe each of you a personal response. I'm touched at your kindness.

  11. Dear John,
    So sad to read that you are discontinuing. I so looked forward to your blog and learning from you, and enjoying looking at your high standard of professional work.
    Please do continue! Dont give up! Even if you downsize --leave over some basic equipment so that when the urge strikes you can go into your new smaller studio and
    take time out to enjoy. Please find the time to write and update us as to your progress. We dont want to feel that we are losing a friend even if you are giving up for now! Good luck and go well.
    Shelley from Jerusalem, Israel.

  12. So it's October. Did you get a job?