Echoing Mentor John Glick

I’m thrilled to share the link to a video interview with studio potter John Glick reflecting on nearly fifty years of being a full-time artist and mentor, plus a fantastic segment on his glazing (a truly wonderful treat).

Anyone who has taken a workshop with me knows how important and influential my one-year residency (1996-97) with John was and continues to be in my own life as a studio potter. I credit John with teaching me everything from properly packing pots and caring for my back by standing to throw, to my use of particular decoration techniques and—most importantly—that play is a crucial part of studio practice.

Pictured stills from the Cultural Connection: John Glick video interview, produced by the City of Farmington Hills Video Division. Watch the video here.

It’s a humbling delight to hear John refer to my year in his studio (04:15 – 07:45), and think back with fondness about that time of exploration, which helped pave the way to my being a full-time artist now. He uses the word “echo,” which is perfect as his support, energy, and influence have indeed reverberated through my mind and work (and back!) for the last sixteen years. He played a big part in my sense of discovery and exploration, and I’m thankful.

Thank you, John & Susie!

Studio Glimpse

  

Coming up this weekend is my Holiday Studio Sale (November 5th & 6th), and while I would love for every single one of you to visit me here in north central Massachusetts, I realize that’s just not possible. Part of visiting an artist in their studio is to buy unique items and support handmade, but the other part is to see where the artist works every day. Those of you living beyond New England’s driving distance can always shop directly from my studio online in my Gallery Store and Pottery Shop. While it’s not exactly dropping by and sifting through pots on my shelves in person, it is the next best thing. For everyone (those who live within shipping range and those who live way beyond), I decided to circle my studio and shoot some of the tools and objects that surround me everyday to help fulfill in some small way the “glimpse behind the scenes” reason to visit.

Pictured above: The doormat that welcomes visitors to my space features big flowers, which remind me that spring will eventually come when there’s two feet of snow on the ground. An old tumbler of mine and three-tiered candy dish (from Ikea) hold my most-used tools and reside on a lazy susan in the right corner of my seven-foot work table. And, the large buckets of glaze, which live under my work table and are rolled out when I’m ready to pour and dip the glazes I mix.

  

My test tile board (test tiles are the ceramic artist’s paint chip) displays my current palette of satin and glossy glazes both alone and over stripes of underglaze colors, and new test colors. The chest-high foundation wall of my studio is a great shelf and keeper of many tools, including this decorative tea tin for my pens and markers, and collaborative ceramic basket by my grad professor Brad Schwieger and me for my brushes. A pound scale is a pretty typical tool in a potter’s studio (even of this era) for weighing amounts of clay, like the cups in the background that started as a pound and an eighth ball. I bought my scale at a re-sale shop when I lived in Detroit two years before having a studio in which to use it!

  

On my potter’s wheel sit my throwing tools in a bowl I made while working with studio potter John Glick (1997-98), and have used in multiple studios since. Also visible is the backrest I lean against while I stand to throw to keep my back healthy. Behind my wheel, à la laundry-hung-to-dry style, are lots of influence images. I couldn’t bring myself to tape or push-pin into my new walls yet, so this works and is fun for easy adding and subtracting. Other than me, the workhorse(s) of my studio are my ware boards. These 1″ x 12″ x 36″ boards are my shelves and allow me to tote pots (12 cups fit on one board, for example) from my wheel, to my studio shelving unit, to my kiln shelving unit and back again with relative ease, as well as make the shelving units themselves flexible for holding short items to tall.

Lastly, pictured left is a partial collection of influence objects I’ve picked up at antique stores, resale shops, and apparently anywhere else (like the plastic sandwich “triangle container” I think would make a great flower brick form).

That’s my studio at a glance! I hope some of you can swing by to see it in person and shop elegant for the holidays on Nov. 5th & 6th!

Throwing Standing

I just returned from beautiful West Palm Beach, FL yesterday after teaching a weekend workshop with a lovely group at the Armory Art Center hosted by Helen Otterson. The topic of back health came up during the couple days (as happens when you have a bunch of ceramic artists together for a short time) because I stand to throw.

I have thrown standing since 1995 when I held an internship throwing historical pots at the Henry Ford Museum’s Greenfield Village in Dearborn, MI. That same year prior to the move to Detroit, as I was making work and firing for my BFA show, my back “went out” leaving me in bed for several weeks on pain medication. So learning to stand at that point was a nice coincidence. But then the year after my internship, when I became the assistant and artist-in-residence with John Glick, I realized how important my standing was to keep my back healthy. John has written a couple of excellent articles for Studio Potter about back health which can be found here on his site. (And one of them is here on Studio Potter’s site.) He outlines how to take care of your back, his ultimate need for surgery and recovery–which we would all like to avoid– and drawings/pictures of his backrest to lean against while standing to throw.

Above is a picture of my wheel set-up and backrest that my husband made, modifying John’s set-up. (I have moved the same cement blocks and bricks to four different studios.) I have now been standing to throw for 13 years, and credit that and John for assisting me in better back health. Now if we could all figure out the other bad things…lifting kiln shelves and 50 lb. bags of materials…