Saturday, April 23, 2011

Potters Are The Nicest People

Ever noticed that "nicest" is one of those words that doesn't look like a word? I always have to check my spelling when I type "nicest". Anyway, potters seem to be the nicest folks in the world -- thoughtful, generous, intelligent, inquisitive, and incredibly good looking too. I've given it some thought and I've concluded that we potters are edging our way down the evolutionary path toward becoming a new species. We'll probably still choose to live within earshot of homo sapiens, though. They're not as evolved as we are, but they are, nonetheless, entertaining. And they seem to like our pots.

Anyway, I bring this up -- the part about potters being kind and generous -- to say that while I was down in Chattanooga last weekend, Ron and Susan Sutterer drove six hours -- all the way from Floyd, VA -- to meet me and see the pottery (and, of course, the other potters at the 4 Bridges Art Festival). And, knowing that she may just be my favorite potter in the world, they stopped by their neighbor, Ellen Shankin's place, and bought one of her mugs (in the picture) to bring to me as a gift.

Earlier this year, Ron sent me a video he'd taken while walking the streets of Floyd on a Friday evening. There was music being played on every street corner and every bar. It looked like such fun -- I can't wait to make a trip down there. I'll bring my guitar and mandolin.

Ron and Susan are also terrific potters. Here are a couple of their pieces:

Today I'll be working on the couple dozen pie/baking dishes I made yesterday (you can also see them on the cart behind the picture of me holding the Ellen Shankin mug.


  1. That's wondeful! I love Ellen Shankin's work too. :)

  2. I didn´t know Ellen Shankins,the rights glazes enhanced the beautiful shapes... Reminded me Thomas Clarkson, who I appreciate. Does she use ash glazes? I think so. By the way, you have a great text. I loved the post about drawing too. Thanks for the tips! Greetings from Brazil! :-)

  3. Tom Clarkson is easily in my top five favorite potters. Another Virginia potter, he's about 100 miles from Ellen Shankin's place in Floyd.

    As to Ellen's glazes, they've always been as mysterious to me as anyone's. They appear to be recognizable glazes -- they look like a version of Shaner's red, or Yellow Salt, or a recognizable rutile blue. But her manner of applying them leaves a surface unlike any other potter's surfaces. He surfaces are alive -- even the simplest of pieces has the most complex of surfaces. If she uses ash glazes, she uses them in a manner unlike anyone else -- and in conjunction with several non ash glazes. That's my guess, anyway.

  4. Nice stuff...and a lovely guitar, those old J45s are great - 1940s best of all! I had the good luck to meet Doc Watson at his Deep Gap, NC, home a few years ago just after Merlefest but I'd left my guitar - a 1930s L00 - behind. He wanted to pick a bit but it didn't happen!! Still a great day with him, though! You can always tell those bluegrass-type flat-pickers by the bashing and scratching around the soundhole! I've another 1950s Gibson that has all the marks of a heavily played guitar! It's probably enjoying its semi-retirement with a finger-picker these days.