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For the Love of Pottery

holdingpot.jpg"The challenge is to do the thing you have to do because you're in love with it and can't do anything else. Not because you want to become famous or rich, but because you will be unhappy if you can't do it." - Warren MacKenzie

The following conversation took place over the phone as my son, Josh, was on his way from his home in Asheville, North Carolina, to Athens, Georgia, to visit a friend. It was inspired by the pots he had gifted us with over the holidays and was a continuation of an ongoing dialogue we’re in the midst of.

Me: Do you remember the first pot you ever made?

Josh: It was at Jayn’s studio (Jayn is a family friend and neighbor who lives on a farm community with 4 other families). Her studio was more accessible to kids than other studios in Floyd. I was 7 or 8, and it was a simple coil pot with a mug handle. I remember it wasn’t coming out the way I wanted it to, and I don’t think it ever got fired.

Me: What was your next pottery making experience?

Josh: Coach Pratt’s ceramic’s class in 11th and 12th grade. I threw more clay at the wall than at the wheel. It was a goof-off, mostly because the school didn’t have much to offer in the way of materials, but it was an introduction.

Me: What happened next?

Josh: Working with Tom Phelps was a big eye opener. I, and another friend, hung out with his son because it was the best place in town to party, and we would go into the pottery studio after hours and make stuff. Tom gave us a real opportunity. He said, “It’s cool that you guys want to make stuff, but it could be better.” His son was already making face pots, and Tom told us, “If you make more of these, I could sell them.” We didn’t expect him to sell much of the face pots we made, but when he did, it changed everything. We got serious. Soon after that, word got around and about 8 of us started working in the studio. Tom was a real mentor.

xmaspots2.jpgMe: When did you fall in love with pottery?

Josh: It wasn’t until Warren Wilson College. I was studying Environmental Science, and because I worked with Tom already, I got on the work study crew as an assistant in the pottery studio. I took my first ceramics course, learned to throw pots, and eventually became a teacher’s assistant. By my second year, I was waking up in the morning; I’d get my coffee and bagel and be on my way to class but find myself in the pottery studio instead. When I got an F and a D in my academic classes and 3 A’s in my art classes, I knew I had fallen in love with pottery.

Me: What keeps you faithful to it?

Josh: It’s all about the material. That’s where the interest started and that’s where it remains. I love the medium. The way it moves and feels. Clay is amazing and it always surprises me. I continue to do new stuff with the pots I make, and I can’t wait for the next clay making cycle.

Post Notes:
Josh’s pottery, pictured above, is available at his Clay Space Studio in Asheville. He can be reached at copiousplus@hotmail.com or 1-828-242-2368.

What do you love to do?


Create Art of all kinds weather it is drawing or painting; composing music; writing..etc. Can't live without it, you know? I KNOW YOU KNOW!!! (LOL)

Does Josh have a Website where one can see more photo's of his creations?

Same here. Whatever I can create. But mostly it's crocheting and computer graphics now, due to hand injuries in the past. I get weak-kneed with joy when I have a paintbrush in my hand, but my grip is no longer strong enough to hold one for very long. I alwys wanted to try pottery. Those pictures are great.
Here from Michele's!

No website yet, but I am told that it's in the works.

What keeps you faithful to it?
Josh: It’s all about the material. That’s where the interest started and that’s where it remains. I love the medium

Kathy here: I must say that the above gave me a shiver, because I have the same thing going on with wool

My craft is rug making an I just LOVE LOVE LOVE wool of all grades and textures and colors. I love the smell, the feel, the look, the nature of the weave (maybe even the taste, but I've yet to take a bite). I just LOVE WOOL.
When I see a Houndstooth coat go by, I almost attack (lol).
Maybe I'd feel the same about clay!
Good job Josh.

And how did Mom deal with the F & D in the academic classes, LOL? I'm sure after a few examples of his art you gave in. Yes he should get a website going. These days it seems one of the best ways for people all over the world to see an artist's work. So many more opportunities out there with the website. Lovely pottery.

Those are amazing!

I like scrapbooking as you know and I messed around with one-stroke painting 2 years ago. I love music, movies, sports.


I love lots of things. JAck of all trades, master of none. I am the best at Cross Stich and want to desgin my own...someday. I love to knit, even if I only know one stitch. And, beading makes me happy. Also, soapmaking, candlemaking, herbal remedies....see the list goes on and on....SIGH!

The next time I go to Asheville, I am going to look him up!

Those are some magnificent pots. I may need some when I move to Colorado.

Thanks for stopping by. :)

What a great idea for a post! Josh does beautiful work. I love art too..many different forms, but haven't figured out exactly what I can't live without. Photography, music, and writing are my passions that need to be explored a bit more.

What a perfect and beautiful quote and an inspiring conversation with your son. Write. I love to write. Thank you for stopping by and adding a comment to the DeLurking Week post. I would not have discovered your blog, and I am certainly glad I did.

One of life's greatest joys is living a passion. Not every one finds theirs. Your son is very fortunate. I wish him all the best.

You have to do something if you're unhappy not doing it. Glad Josh is following his bliss.

Came across an article you might: like Colleen The way out in inwards: http://www.experiencedesignernetwork.com/archives/000685.html

Always follow your dream. Glad your son is doing what he loves to do and is so beautiful, by the way. Any more pics of his work?

What a talented son you have there, Colleen! I'd love to throw some clay with him. Some day. My mom still has my first (and only) pot, and when I see it I think "I should go get myself a pottery wheel."

Me, I love to paint. It's who I am. And lately? I've not been quite right, because who I am has morphed into what I do for everyone else all day. I don't know how to get "me" back without offending so many people. I'm lost.

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