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ceramics monthly tribute : long and by a potter

updated wed 1 jan 03


Cat Jarosz on tue 31 dec 02

HI Joyce and clay art people...

Amen to CM being great this month and one of my favorite potters is also
featured in this one. "Jane Pieser". Joyce I think the Coleman's are great

I cant even begin to vocalize the impact this woman's work had on me way
back in the early 80's when my first ever ceramic book was purchased in
college. BA DA boom BA DA bing the heavens opened up, angels sang, it was my
epiphany "YOU CAN DO THAT WITH CLAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Spinnin on my head
woooo hooo

Not only that but what do you know ,this woman (that's in a book ), is
also fairly local and has work in a small gallery ( small then) down in
Biltmore Village area of Asheville, NC and that I can see and touch for real
what I saw in that book...

Man am I impressed beyond words, remember this is the first part of 1980
and I was pretty young and heck even Michael Sherrill was doing functional
pots and wasn't the super star he is today although well on his way and very
respected. This woman artist was in a "BOOK"! And yes I attempted and
did a pretty good millefore of my own back then and with nothing but a few
simple instructions from this book to guide me, mostly guess work on my part
and experiments on what all those darn colored chemicals on the shelf would
do when mixed with white porcelain.( this was not a how to article but sort
of a mini demo on what was possible) Not a lot of imfo out there besides
CM back in those days ... and yeah I lived in the archives of the library
with the bound CM periodicals ...

I was also able to meet this wonderful woman although for yrs I could
not enter her booth as I figured I would make the biggest fool out of
myself slobbering incoherently that I was not worthy .... in the mid
90's when I had gotten good enough to get into the guild in our area of
which she is a member, the guild president at the time talked to Jane and
told her that I was a new member and was too afraid to speak with her, so
she came to my booth and spoke with me and I did not fall down on floor
muttering gibberish though my heart was in my throat and I was almost in
tears that she would come speak with me.

What surprised her the most is that I do not do anything like her and she
figured that if she had made such a huge impact on a budding potter that I
surely must want to do what she is doing !!! The deal is the IMPACT !!!!
I never ever imagined that you could do something like that with clay and for
some reason it opened doors to my mind, unlocked the box of possibilities
to the wonder of clay ... kind of like thinking what forever means (how
many days is forever ?)

For that I will be forever grateful to Jane Pieser and her wonderful work
and to the book and Ceramics monthly's bound periodicals at University of NC
at Asheville as that was the only HOW TO's available to me back then...

I sometimes think of all the things that helped shape my decision to
committ myself totally to pottery and there were many things but I can
honestly say that day in the early 80's when I saw that book and that
lady's work was one really big reason.

I hope I was able to convey something positive in my fumbling way and hope
you will read with your heart wide open .

Warmest wishes and prayers for peace on earth for all in the new yr.
ahead, Cat Jarosz who lives on a ridge that was once called copper head
ridge in the blue ridge mnts of NC. lightning rod capital of Asheville

ccpottery@BELLSOUTH.NET on tue 31 dec 02

Cat & All -

I have not received my issue yet .... drat!!! I agree 100% with your
feelings for Jane Pieser and her work. She is inspirational.

Several years ago I was fortunate to take a workshop she taught. She
explained her colored clay techniques in a very thorough and generous manner.
There were no big secrets, no questions she would not answer, nothing she
would not share. She created one of her lovely women during the week and we
mostly just wanted to sit and watch her work. She made everything look so
easy. Potters like Jane move the whole craft forward.

Needless to say, that week changed my life. She got me addicted to colored
porcelain and I have never looked back. It is the most challenging, maddening,
rewarding process I have ever attempted. Just when you think you did it right,
it turns on you!! :>)

I talked with Jane a few weeks ago and was sharing a problem I was still
having with one of my pieces after 6 years of trying to solve it. Her first instinct was to help me trouble shoot it and offer advice. Potters are the best!!

Chris Campbell - in North Carolina - wishing you all a very happy 2003 !!