That cup as the best teacher you ever had.

It was 35 years ago that my life was to take a turn all because of a cup. I had gone to Minnesota to visit Linda Christianson . First she took me to a shop that sold kitchen ware- knives, cutting boards, awesome pots and stuff. You walked in the front door and could buy a great coffee in a handmade cup. I was new to wood firing and not well educated in pots. There was this work that was bright orange and flashed by this unheard of to me potter- Mark Pharis. It wasn't light, thin or pretty which is what I thought pottery ought to be. Then a few days later Linda took me to a "Pot on the Spot" at  Wayne Branum's house and pottery. A pot luck and  more exposure to this raw work and other potters presenting their latest work for analysis and discussion. Their was Randy and Jan, Wayne, Jeff Oestreich, Linda, Mark Pharis and I think Ruggles and Rankin. I sat there quiet as a church mouse as this was all crazy new to me.
On my 1000 mile drive home to Ontario I couldn't get Pharis's cups outta my mind. Upon arrival at home I phoned Linda and asked if she would pick one out for me and send it. I anxiously waited for weeks. Upon it's arrival I opened the box and saw this cup that was the colour of a dead fish, with a drab brown glaze interior with a green drip over the rim. I could see his finger mark on the pot where he held it to dip in slip. I couldn't get my finger between the handle and the cup.  It was like I had been kicked below the belt. I was initially disappointed.
My favourite cup by Mark Pharis
Because of my respect for Linda I decided she had sent me a test. I learned how to hold the cup. I learned to appreciate the marks of the maker. Even the drip shows process. That cup has been my favourite cup for the past 35 years. It has a few chips in it by now. It has driven to school with me, gone to wood firings and been my morning pal for over 3 decades. Still learning from that cup.
Whenever I give a workshop I tell people I love cups and that they should watch Pete Pinnell's Thoughts on Cups. He discusses Linda's cups in a very thoughtful insightful way. I hope my cups do the same.
Here are a couple of Linda's cups from 35 years ago
A bit chipped and better for wear. Linda Christianson
Linda Christianson cup- My daughter Robin's fav as a child. She is now 40.


Anonymous said…
Help the Rain Forest!

Save the planet!
Anonymous said…
Is it 1989 all over again?

Support pro-democracy in Hong Kong!

Before the chinese army slaughters all the protestors all over again.
Anonymous said…
There’s something a lot more intimate about those mugs. Love Linda’s work
Anonymous said…
So many inspiring potters out there, thanks for sharing.
Anonymous said…
"Do not imitate, but listen to the small voice which is your own and true."

Beatrice Wood

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