Sunday, August 12, 2012

A Potters World


Matt's potters wheel        photo by elizabeth gordon

To meet Matt is a wonderful experience.  He is a warm open man, who is interested in everything.  He is down to Earth and non assuming.  He is not an aloof conceited artist, but the opposite. If there is ego in Matt, it all goes into the creation process.  He is the kind of man you don't expect to find hold up alone spending hours and hours in the studio, but instead in a crowd smiling and laughing away.  He likes challenge and wants to keep his craft as pure and locally as he can.  He buys local clay dug from the surrounding mountains and stores behind the studio in large mounds.  He screens it and makes up his own blend. He also crushes beer bottles and uses them in his glazes!

Pottery Studio in the Blue Ridge Mountains
Bisque Wear Glazed and Ready for Firing
local clay stored behind the studio

 Before firing it has a whitish grey look which made me think it might fire white, but Matt looked at me as if I was crazy when I said it fires a darker brown he said.  He is a tall lean lanky man with a crooked grin, who can throw huge pots. When I say huge I mean really really big.  Most of his work has mostly the color of the glazes he mixes and the marks of the wood firing, but he does love drawing.  He adds graphics when he can for his own soul and not the monetary bottom line.  He has a sense of humor when he does ad the graphics that is a bit edgy and delightful  I told my other Mississippi artist buddy, Sean Starwars, they must connect with each other, they would find a common ground. 

portrait of tools

Matt's large wood firings go a week, firing all day and night.  It is a large undertaking he only does a couple of times of year.  Otherwise he does smaller firings, not loading the whole outdoor kiln.  
For me I love wood firings.  The glazes are earthy and warm...they show marks that say I am hand made, I am crafted, I an ancient craft and don't you forget it with your new fangled electric kilns and low fire glazes!
I had hopped to find one of my favorite mugs and glazes Matt does, but he was sold out after an article had appeared the magazine Garden and Gun, Southern Made.

Glazing brushes on the ready

mixing barrel where Matt mixes his own clay
mark of the potter
drying and screening bin

display in sales room...almost sold out

Matt's Ceramic Monthly Cover

 Mark is quite a surprising guy.  As we are talking he says, "Do you know who Sheppard Fairey is?"  I said yes, he is the artist who did the Obama poster.  Then Matt proceeds to tell me that Shepard Fairey is a childhood friend and they have gotten in contact again after years of going their own ways.  Sheppard recently bought a bunch of Matt's pottery that had a nod to Sheppard's own art work!

Outdoor wood kiln with wood stacks

Detail shot of Matt's wood fire kiln

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