Saturday, September 25, 2010

Studio Pottery

What does that term mean? It means, modern artists that either work alone or in small groups making many one of kind pieces or pieces in small quantities of art using clay as a medium. They are not mass producing pieces.

Many artists produce pieces that are functional include tableware, cookware, and vases, just to name a few. While some are starting to create some non-functional pieces, like whimsical pieces and sculptural pieces.

I don’t want to get into the history of pottery, that might be another blog, I do want to mention that pottery has been a big part of our country through the 1800s-1900s. But faded some in the early part of the 20th century. There have been all sorts of pottery companies though the years, most of the big ones like Roseville, Hull, Weller, were factories and produced hundreds or thousands of pieces. There were some studio potters during those time but the modern artist have so much talent that I feel they need to be given some kudos.

I’ll admit, I’m a glassie at heart but I do love great studio pottery. And hanging out on eBay and the internet for so many years I’ve discovered some great artists. I hope to someday have their pieces adorn my home. So for now, I will be focusing on about 3 or 4 of my favorite artists. So lets get started!

William Blakely
“Willie began making pottery at the age of 8 with the help and guidance of his Grandfather, well known Northern California Potter, and College Ceramics & Art Instructor, Mike Selfridge. Together they have built and fired, Raku kilns, several different Gas Fired Stoneware kilns, a Salt kiln, and after two years of work, have just completed construction of a Wood Fire Stoneware Kiln. Willie has also given workshops on Pottery making at a local Art Gallery.” Willie is now 19.

Willies’ work has taken on a life of its own on eBay. His Grandmother is a frequent contributor on the Pottery, Glass & Porcelain board and has so graciously introduced us to his lovely works. He has sold a few very nice pieces, including those shown here. We are all patiently awaiting his website that will happen after he returns from a mission trip this his church to Haiti.

He became a favorite of mine because I love his glazes and shapes. And my favorite part is that he is so young, it’s so nice to see a young person interested in the arts and not sitting in front of a video game. Search eBay for “Willie Blakely”.


Mary Pratt, Pratt Clay Studio
Mary has become a favorite of mine because use of realistic designs, use of animals, bugs, flowers and other items on white clay. Her website, Pratt Clay Studio, Reality in Detail, states that she uses natural world around her. Mary works with white stoneware, using fresh, classic images, incised and sculpted with a contemporary twist. She calls it “Reality in Detail.”
While trying to research her and her background, I’ve only come up with a little bit of info, she’s been working in the field over 20 years, she either is or used to work at Ephraim Faience Pottery.

Freechild Studio
This studio consists of 2 potters, John Garland and Mary Paul, they collaborate on pieces along with working individually. They are based in North Carolina, “John and Mary create individual and collaborative clay works that are colorful, artistic and often whimsical.”

They have won numerous awards at art shows. They currently have shows this year.

Their pieces are functional and fun! Lots of details and colors. I think my favorite part of their pieces are the designs. The designs are hand drawn onto the piece, then “painted” on then fired. There is so much going on in their pieces that one needs to really look at the piece to see it all.

Check out their website for their complete work process and for their complete show schedule.

And my absolute favorite right now is:

Mitchell Grafton
Mitchell has an absolute incredible imagination! He has been creating pottery for 17 years and in 2009 branched out on his own. He does not use molds in his designs now but did when he worked for others.

I was turned on to Mitchell’s work when someone on eBay’s Pottery, Glass & Porcelain board showed his work on our “Great Finishes” thread. It was this jug that was a tribute the BP Oil spill. I fell in love with his idea, his detail and choice of glazes. Then I found his blog and the other pieces he had pictured on it. And his pieces do so well on eBay, one of his latest sales was a thin necked vase of this raku colored cat with feathers sticking out of his mouth!

Then I found his Facebook page and his older pieces. His lamps are so classy looking but his new work is outstanding! Okay, I’m biased as I love detail! And his stories of the pieces are wonderful too! Like this one for the Train piece: "I'm getting too old for this." Those were the first words out of George's mouth when he woke up on the floor Saturday morning after another one of those wild nights in the city. He felt horrible and he was aching all over. It felt like a freight train was running through the middle of his head. He staggered to the bathroom and looked in the mirror and was shocked at what he saw......there actually was a freight train running through the middle of his head. Last night must have been a lot wilder than he had first thought.

Or this one for the oil spill jug: I decided to do a face jug that represents the sadness that I feel to see the beautiful emerald green waters that this area is known for and the amazing seafood that I have come to love being polluted by the greed of men, cutting costs and corners to make a larger profit. I recognize that our country runs on oil and it is needed to maintain the American way of life, my way of life. I also recognize that many jobs are created in the gulf oil industry. I'm just hoping that one day we find a better way.
And this funny one for the fist tank piece: I definitely think that there is a communication gap between men and women. For instance, last week was my girlfriend's birthday. Well ahead of time I asked her what she wanted and she told me that she had always wanted a fish tank. I thought that was an odd request but I wanted to make her happy so I made one for her. I thought it turned out pretty good but when I gave it to her she was a bit shocked and told me that she had wanted the kind with a real fish. I told her that would be tough because a real fish would probably die if it had a tank attached to it. She said "NO.... I wanted an aquarium." She really should have been more specific in the beginning.

Check out Mitchell’s blog:
And search for Mitchells’ pottery on eBay using Grafton Pottery!

Someday, I will own a piece of my 3 favorite potters! But in the mean time, I will enjoy they websites, blogs and auctions.