Wood and Soda Fired Pottery


Just yesterday I was discussing “the business”  (aka William Baker Pottery ) with someone at the bank when I was asked “do you make the pottery“.  I am repeatedly amazed at how deeply engrossed we can become in our chosen career/obsession only to be reminded that most folks out there in the world have absolutely no idea what it is we are doing.  And I say this not only as a potter, but a wood firing, soda glazing potter no less.

Of course, the friendly customer service representative meant no harm, and I politely responded that, yes,  I make it and sell it too.  And then I thought of all the other things I’m doing for “the business”…and I remembered this little paragraph I’ve been toting around and meaning to share for some time now.  For some reason it makes me chuckle, but maybe that’s just me.

Pottery is the complete craft, as it exploits every aspect of a person’s ability, practical and aesthetic.  Very few hobbies or occupations demand and give so much.  The complete potter must be a resourceful artist, chemist, artisan, and much more.  If you can in some way achieve this balance, you will find real fulfillment as a potter.

“The Self-Reliant Potter,” Holden 1984.

There’s so much packed into that little paragraph, and so much left out too.

Lately, I’ve been dusting off the kiln building skills again, getting ready for a little adventure down in Asheville at the old stomping grounds.  They’ve taken down the salt/soda kiln that I learned to fire at the Odyssey Center for Ceramic Arts, and next week I’ll build a repalcement for it and then start on a 9 week class to learn about how to learn to fire a cross draft soda kiln.  More on that later.

One Response to “Skills”

  1. Ryan says:

    Thanks for the post. It seems like many people working in the corporate world get used to fulfilling one single role in the company. How nice that would be sometimes to just wear one hat.