"You are subject to the elements... Any one of the old four - earth, air, fire, water - can betray you and melt, or burst, or shatter - months of work into dust and ashes and spitting steam. You need to be a precise scientist, and you need to know how to play with what chance will do to your lovingly constructed surfaces in the heat of the kiln.”
― A.S. Byatt, The Children's Book
My journey to Anasazi style pottery began with an interest in primitive and survival skills. I love the fact that one can go into the wild with nothing and find all they need to survive and flourish from the landscape. I love the idea that one can go out, dig up some "dirt", shape it, paint it and fire it using materials found, creating something useful and lasting.
There are sacred places in the southwest. Places where ancient pottery sherds are scattered over the ground, so many in some places that it is hard to walk without stepping on them. A pot sherd can teach a potter so much; the thickness of the wall of a pot, the type of temper used, the size of the vessel, even where and when the pot was made. The artifacts we find are traces of ancient lives and are windows into another time. The land itself is alive and connects us to the people that came before us. Amazingly, on some sherds (and pots) we can still see the ancient potters fingerprints.
I imagine the ancient potters, how knowledgeable and meticulous they must have been, to create something so beautiful and enduring.
This started my journey of learning all I could about Anasazi ceramics and other primitive pottery techniques. I've had several great teachers along the way, John Olsen being my greatest influence. Others include Esteban Fire, Delmar Mathers and Andy Watson. My gratitude goes out to these good friends who have shared their expertise so freely. I love teaching and sharing but I've also learned that with every new discovery there are new horizons with many new questions. In this light I will forever consider myself a student. I've now been teaching primitive pottery and "Anasazi style pottery" for over seven years at various gatherings and workshops across the country.
I imagine one day far in the future someone will pick up one of my pots and wonder about my life. Maybe they'll be inspired to create something that lasts longer than they will. Maybe they will get a glimpse of my personality in the texture or overall quality of the pot. I love the idea that through pottery we are connected; past, present, and future.