search  current discussion  categories  forms - misc 

i own the $400 pitcher

updated fri 7 oct 05


Vince Pitelka on thu 6 oct 05

Tony's comment about his $600 Bruce Cochrane teapot inspired me to write
about a wonderful bargain I got the other day. It was a $400 pitcher, and
yes, in this case I did indeed pay $400 for a utilitarian pitcher. My
friend David McBeth invited Jack Troy to do a workshop and exhibition at UT
Martin, where Dave teaches. As you all know, Jack is both a superb writer
and a wonderful potter. The workshop was actually a writing workshop, and
things were too busy for me to attend. But Dave emailed me images of the
pieces in the show. Among the works were several pitchers, including one
titled "Family Reunion Pitcher." It holds about three gallons, and it came
out of Jack's big anagama. I love the tortured surfaces and heavy ash
encrustations of Iga ware, but this is the kind of wood-fired surface I
aspire towards when we woodfire functional pots here at the Craft Center -
no heavy rough deposits of unfluxed ash, or cascading flows of gray-green
snot - just fine variegations of flashing and light ash deposition over the
surface of the pot. From the items in the show, I decided to purchase the
big pitcher, along with a more modest-size pitcher (I love pitchers) and a
large jug.

I don't know if Jack markets his pots in any of the big craft galleries. He
is certainly one of America's finest woodfire potters, and has a superb
sense of form. His relationship with his wood kiln could be called a very
successful collaboration, in the degree to which the woodfired surfaces
complement the forms of his wares. So what would this pitcher sell for in a
major craft gallery or big-city exhibition? I don't really want to
speculate on that, but I know that when David put that pot in my hands
several weeks ago after dropping Jack off at the Nashville airport, and I
held it for the first time, I felt a surge of energy and excitement, a real
thrill, and among the thoughts that occured to me was "Boy, did I get a
- Vince

Vince Pitelka
Appalachian Center for Craft, Tennessee Technological University
Smithville TN 37166, 615/597-6801 x111,