South Hero Vermont
“Raku is about risk and faith, if you just let go and give your work to the fire, you can end up with the most wonderful piece of magic.”
Across the Grain Pottery was established as a way to continue my exploration into clay. Today, the studio sits on the shores of an island in Vermont overlooking Lake Champlain.
Clay has always been a creative outlet starting in high school. I loved making pieces in clay that teachers would tell me won’t work – pushing the limits of the clay and the imagination. Everything worked!
My first experience with Raku firing was in 1982 and was thoroughly disappointing. “All I ended up with were some brown lumps and a burnt sweater.” After a couple decades of life, a friend said “You need to get back to clay and get yourself centered.” I headed back to the University of Vermont Pottery Co-op, where 25 years earlier I was a member during college. This changed my life. The Co-op teachers pushed, no, shoved me towards Raku. They showed how beautiful Raku could be. They lit the fire!
The risky relationship between clay, glaze and fire is addicting. The fire brings life to forms that hands cannot bring to the clay. Everything now looks different. Exploring Raku firing and watching the effects the flame on the glaze makes me more aware of the way my own hands affect the clay.
Functional Pottery cannot be fired in a Raku Kiln but sculpture is perfect, plus I love the way the clay flops around like a live fish in my hands or the way a bird takes shape from a small ball of clay fascinates me. Scenes from daily walks find their way into my work - a crow sitting on a fence post, Canadian geese and loons on the lake, my Newfoundland dog staring at me or the fish I imagine swimming below the surface of Lake Champlain.
In 2006, with a newly built homemade Raku kiln, I started to experiment with different styles and shared my love of Raku with others through public firings. At Across the Grain Pottery all firings are open to the public.
Moving into a new studio in 2016, there is now room for students and the Across the Grain Pottery School as born. As a pottery teacher again I have developed a new love for functional tableware and larger sculpture.