You’re not a potter, if
A few years ago at NCECA, Milwaukee I was on a panel with Mark Hewitt, Lisa Hammond, Mary Ann Steggles to discuss “Where Have all the Potters Gone?
Mark during the discussion said that if you didn’t make all your money from your pots you were not a potter!
Well after the panel I’m swaggering down the street and come face to face with a smart mouthed friend of mine Chiho Tokita. She gives me this great big grin and says “Soooooooo, Tony Clennell you’re not a potter! You don’t make all your money from your pots! You teach, do workshops and peddle your million selling book Stuck in the Mud. I thought for a moment and said “You’re absolutely right, I don’t make all my money from my pots so I guess I’m not a potter. I’m just a weekend potter that didn’t realize the weekend was over.
I had a teacher back some 40 years ago Roger Kerslake a British trained potter that made and still makes great porcelain fluted t-pots. Once a visiting David Leach said to Roger- your teapots look a lot like mine only they are better! A high compliment I’d say. Roger thought that you could judge a potter’s skill by their teapot. It has to be interesting and it surely has to work. Probably the most sophisticated functional item a potter is called upon to make. So secretly in the back of my mind is this notion –you’re not a potter, if you don’t make a nice teapot”. The teapot is the gold standard by which I still judge a potter. I remember very early in my career staring at a very strong and wonderful teapot by Peter Voulkos.
I plan to stay at home this week so I shouldn’t run into smart mouths here in my town. Home sweet home.
I figure when I get older the teapot is a form that is small enough to keep making. When my teapots start looking terrible I will quit.
When you are dissatisfied and want to go back to your youth
Think algebra – Will Rogers
PS: If you want my answer to where have all the potters have gone refer to my million selling book Stuck in the Mud and read the last two articles.