Sunday, December 19, 2010

Lost and Found (Utah State University pots)


I picked this oval pot up at one of the student sales while I was at Utah State. I think it was made by Todd Burns, but I am not totally sure. It is unsigned and there's no chop mark to be found. Anyone confirm one way other another?





This small bowl was also picked up during one of our guild sales. I am pretty sure it is a Jason Hess bowl... but again, no marks, no signature, but the woodfired surface screams Jason. Anyone confirm or deny? Jason?


So why are these pots on my mind tonight?

This weekend I had a chance to visit with one of the best potters in the area: Renata Wadsworth. She was having her holiday open studio sale. I figured it would be a perfect opportunity to capture the images we always fail to have: People shopping and picking up pots. I figured I would get there a little early, set up a light or two and stay for the first handful of folks that came through the door. As luck would have it, we didn't make it out the door early. By the time we arrived the roadside was doubling as the parking lot and Renata's studio was packed. With Nancy's help, I got set up pretty quick and shot for a very short while. Captured some really nice images, and then put the camera down.

Why? Because it was time to go shopping!

As much as I always enjoyed making pots, it tended to leave me too broke to BUY pots. I love picking out potter's best works and then either making them part of my family or passing them on as gifts to friends. Pottery is just the perfect gift.

Fifteen years ago, while I was first starting out at Utah State, the holiday ceramic guild show was a HUGE deal. We would cover at least a dozen tables with pots stacked pell mell. Pricing stickers were often masking tape and pencil. And through all that disorganization and melee, we managed to rake in tons of cash for the guild and more than a fair amount for all of us students.

My first time at the guild show, I wasn't convinced anything I had made would sell. I just couldn't imagine folks showing up to the student center building and buying pots. Staff and faculty knew better. The ones in the know were there bright and early as we set up and picked out the best of the best. After that first sale, I started doing much the same. If I had seen pots someone was making that caught my eye, I would do my best to pick them up at the beginning of the sale since I knew they'd be gone by the close of the sale.

In that way, I came to build a rather healthy collection of pots from so many of the students I knew at Utah State. I wish I had been better about keeping track of who made what. In some cases, it is completely obvious... either stylistically or because it is signed/marked with a chop. In other instances, the pots might have been more experimental... one of a kind... and those are the real gems.

As I get a chance to shoot more of my collection, I will try to post more of the images here. If anyone knows who made these two (for certain)... please let me know so I can attribute them appropriately.

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