The Stew of My Life
Mick Casson - jug
As I wonder around the massive collection of pots here at Chosin Pottery I am flooded with memories of the many ingredients that flavour the stew that is my life. There have been many ingredients but some flavours are stronger than others. Some have required only a small dash and yet they have changed the the flavour of what was to become me.
Early on in my learning was a workshop by the legendary Harry Davis. Harry was a no nonsense cantankerous old buzzard who after leaving Leach set up potteries in Africa, England, New Zealand and Peru. He never signed his work and he made pots with economy. No movement was wasted. I remember him saying to a student “Young woman unless you have independent means you had better learn to make cups and saucers and make them bloody fast!” For years I learned to make and make bloody fast. Then came Mick in Wales. Mick had me looking at pots to inform me about how to make them well. I did this very thing when teaching at Sheridan. I would haul in boxes of pots from my collection. A picture being worth a thousand words and a pot a thousand more.
After thousands of production pots I started to get interested in the contemporary pots of American potters and I remember staring at the loose handle applications of Don Reitz. The strength of Mick’s pots and the celebration of the material in Don’s handles I think are a trademark of the flavour of my work. The energy in Don’s work is what I would like to obtain in my cuisine offering. He remains one of my favourites.
Finally Grass. Early on some 40 years ago he only said a few words to me – you need more education!. We connected once again about 10 years ago when I was considered a peer and not a fledgling upstart anymore. I had many tons of clay under my fingernails. Since then he has been a wise beacon in terms of workshops, glazes and wonder of all wonders- the brush. As I look at the remaining pots in the collection and for sale the brushwork of Grass is his signature. How many thousands of pots did he have to decorate to get that good? I can hear him now- you need more education! Thanks ole pal!