Thursday, October 23, 2008

Steven Colby

Back in the 90's I took a class at Arrowmont school in Gatlinburg, TN. It was the first time I'd been to Arrowmont and I was really excited to be there. The energy was great, the clay studio was too. I've been back a few times since then to take classes or attend a conference.

During that first time at Arrowmont there was an event held in the library, maybe an auction, and I saw some work by Steven Colby. The piece I remember most was a small earthenware cup on a plinth. The cup was covered loosely in white slip. As I stood there I overheard Steven talking to someone and he was describing his work. I remember him saying, It's fired to cone 1 and it leaks some, which I like. (maybe that's not it verbadium, but it's what stuck with me).

At the time I thought, How wonderful! Cone 1! What a concept. I hadn't been exposed to clay long at that point and most of it was high fire, I'd often heard wood fired potters bragging about melting cone 13 in a burly, manly voice. Here was someone saying they fired to cone 1, how cool is that? (well a good bit cooler than 13)

Over the years I thought to myself that it would be nice to be doing something other than high fire stoneware and I'd think of Steven saying "I fire to cone 1". Maybe there was something about the number 1. Like the Beatles song. I don't know, but it stuck with me and now here I am making earthenware pots, fired to a low temp., cone 03. And hey, my first earthenware pots leaked like sieves, so I felt a real kinship to the statements I'd heard Steven say. I'd made it!

Well I've reconnected with Steven in a way. He's in Colorado now, still making earthenware pots. He has a website and a blog and I hope you'll check it out. I got his number a few months ago from potter Peg Malloy with the intention of calling him up. Until then, hopefully, we'll be connecting here in cyberspace.

Thanks Steven, you totally made an impact on my pottery life with out knowing it. I've been wanting to tell this story ever since I started in earthenware this year.