Sequoia Miller

The Artisan Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of an exhibit of the ceramic artist Sequoia Miller .

Saturday, October 6 through Sunday, November 18

Opening Reception with the artist: Saturday, October 6, 5-8

APPROACH

I love making pottery, and feel fortunate to be a potter. I produce each piece myself from start to finish. I make many pots, and every one is individual.

Each time I make a pot I try to endow it with its own life. This life comes from an active balance of the form's tradition, its use, how I made it the previous time, memories of ones I've seen in the past, ideas I've had but never tried, etc. When I make a group of cups, I recall what I was thinking about in the last series of cups, what I liked and didn't like about them, and what I'd like to try. It's like this with all of my pots.

Some forms change quickly and others slowly, but all are in a state of fluidity. My hope as a studio potter is to make the best work I can and to find out over time what exactly that means.

BACKGROUND

My first clay classes were as a youth with Toby Rosenberg, a potter in Portland, Maine.

I began in clay in earnest some years later, after graduating from college, when I came across Mark Shapiro, a potter in western Massachusetts. Mark encouraged me to study at Penland School in North Carolina, where before long I was there learning from Douglass Rankin & Will Ruggles.

Douglass & Will are the potters who awoke in me a meaningful way of understanding pots. They introduced me to the art and philosophy of mingei, or the Japanese folk-craft movement. They are for me a direct link to the work of Shoji Hamada, Bernard Leach, and Warren MacKenzie. Douglass and Will also introduced me to the process of wood-firing.

Since that formative experience, I have also learned from Michael Simon, Linda Christianson, Nick Joerling, MacKenzie Smith, Terry Gess and Chris Staley. I embrace the act of making as the most effective means of learning. This philosophy was passed on to me by Douglass & Will. My ideas emerge through the continuity of a daily studio practice, rather than in advance of it.

PROCESS

I work alone in my studio on a wooden treadle wheel, crafted by Doug Gates in North Carolina. My studio is next to my house. Behind the studio I have gas kiln where I fire nearly all of my work. I use a dark stoneware clay, and mix up traditional glazes akin to ones developed in Japan and China centuries ago.

I begin nearly every piece on my potters' wheel. Many of my pots are faceted. This is where I slice a blade or wire through an extra thick clay wall, leaving an arcing flat surface. This creates a series of planes and angles, which I find very engaging.

I also alter many wheel-thrown forms. Altering is any type of pushing or squeezing of a round pot to make a different shape. Many of my pots begin round, but end up square, six sided or flat.

I love making a wide variety of different forms: jars, teapots, and vases as well as cups and bowls. Each has a different type of complexity that engages a different part of my imagination.

Swimming Deer Pottery - sequoiamillerpottery.com