For as long as I can remember, I have been interested in finding new purposes for old things. For me, clay has become the ultimate test. Turing raw earth into something functional, beautiful and exciting has forever changed my thinking and way of life. After a B.S. In art and design from Towson University, and a 2 year clay residency in Baltimore, I moved back to Frederick, Maryland. My wife and I bought a house with some land, and soon after I begun construction a large wood-burning kiln to fire my work and share what I’ve learned with my students and friends. The kiln was built entirely of used or left over materials including stone and earth from our property. Much like the kiln and my clay, I have reworked and reformed ideas and techniques when I fire my work, all of which inspire the development of my pots and surfaces.
My working cycle is probably not much different from most wood fire potters. I start by making my largest pots first and work my way down to cups and mugs. My largest pots are usually round vase forms in the 25 to 45 pound range, and are very important when it comes to filling the kiln and stacking it tightly to the arch. During a normal cycle, I make pots for about 2 months which ends up being between 250 and 350 pieces. It takes me roughly 4 days to glaze and wad all of my work, and another 3 days to load the kiln. Each kiln load is split in half between my students and myself. Typically 10 to 12 students participate along with a few other wood fire potters in the area and some out of state guests. The firing last between 60 and 75 hours, peaking around 2400 degrees F, and takes an entire week to cool. Unloading happens the following Sunday morning. The days and weeks after are spent cleaning, sanding and photographing the pots. In the spring, we fire and have an open house before Mothers Day. We fire again in September and then once more in November in time to have a second open house before the holidays. I spend many hours in the winter and spring splitting enough wood for all 3 firings during the coming year.