I've just returned from several days in Door County, WI with my 17-year old son whose passion is making pottery. Since the weather was cold and blustery, we spent most of our time visiting pottery galleries up and down the peninusla. Although we did brave the weather enough to enjoy a chilly walk at Cave Point Park, pictured here. (Incredible to contemplate that prior to drifting north, this area was once a coral reef near the equator.) Caves all along the shore were created by the erosion of the waves, and the beach was pocked with small pools and white boulders of all sizes.
At the pottery places, we examined pieces made by many techniques, including wood firing, raku and pit firing. There were even musical instruments--drums and horns--at Potters Wheel Gallery
in Fish Creek. The clay artists that we met were all very friendly and happy to engage in shop talk with Ross, and to give him tips on colleges he might want to consider for next year. This photo
was taken at Ellison Bay Pottery
, run by John Dietrich and Diane McNeil, who specialize in pit fired pieces. As a painter I loved the subtle surface colors and textures created in the firing of this work.
We also saw impressive glass work at Clayton and Clayton Glass Art Studio. Keith and Deanna Clayton
were getting ready for a major exhibit at SOFA in Chicago, but took time out to show us around their extensive studio operation near Ephraim. They work with glass in a sculptural manner; Deanna creates beautifully textured vessels made over wax molds (the name of the process is pate-de-verre)and Keith shapes large slabs of glass and fabricated metal elements into wall mounted pieces.
Finally, on our way home yesterday evening, we made a stop at Mill Creek Pottery outside Shawano, where potter Simon Levin
and family once again affirmed my impression that as a group, pottery people rank among the friendliest and most generous I have met. Simon showed Ross around his studio and huge wood kiln, and threw a pitcher on the wheel as we talked, finishing it by pressing outward on the sides of the perfect cylander to create an organic, subtley moving shape. His work was among my favorite on the trip.
I find myself drawn more and more into the world of fine crafts through Ross's interest. He suggested I might like to paint on a fired clay slab, perhaps one on which I've drawn some lines or made other textural marks. Sounds like fun--if I get anything worth posting, I will!