Wednesday, July 27, 2016

What’s the best schoolin’?


Over the past 6 months of travelling in the US I have bought two pots. One was a dinner plate from Daniel Johnston of NC and the other was a whiskey shooter from Zack Spates in MN.
What kinda schooin’ did these dudes get? Well it turns out they both apprenticed with Mark Hewitt in NC. I was going to tip the hat to Mark for teaching so well but then I figured I should tip to the potters for picking the teacher so well.  
When both of my kids where going to university my advice was – pick the teacher not the course! Why take a course with a so so teacher? Why go to a school to learn pots from a person that doesn’t know how to make pots?
I’m convinced that the best way to learn how to make pots is to make pots. It is possible though that you will learn to make not so good pots. The same goes for if you pick as a teacher a maker of not so great pots.  You will also learn to make not so great pots.
At the Minnesota Potters Festival l I was pleased that two of my young friends from Utah State U tracked me down and we went out for dinner and the USU tradition of a beer and a bump.
Alix Brodeur was my student in tIntermediate Throwing and Johnnie Larson had dropped out of USU but stayed connected to the energy of the gang there. Johnnie was one of the key fireman for the last wood firing of my graduate show.
Alix is skipping from stone to stone, pottery to pottery looking for a final rock to land on. Johnnie went full bore on with pots. He has built his anagama in rural Minnesota, uses a Korean kick wheel, digs and uses native Minnesota clay. He has just purchased a hammermill to process local materials. Hard core!  Both Alix and Johnnie have chosen travel and the U of Hard Knocks  as their teacher. It’s a hard road but it fits their shoes. File these two names. They aren’t off on a 100 yard dash but they’ll pull ahead in the marathon. These are distance runners. I identify very closely with their road map.  

There will always be a light on here at The Cactus Lounge for this two. Sending my love out to  Alix an Johnnie. You thrilled me that you would show up.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Right back atcha Teach. Thanks for the kind words and the book (semi) full of wisdom. It's on my bedside table putting me to sleep every night ;)
-alix

Tom Wirt said...

Nice post Tony, They are truly two amazing young potters, and we need more of them. It was an evening to be remembered, as was your visit to MN and the Pottery Festival. Thanks for all you do.

John said...

Proud of all three of you!