OUR STORY & PHILOSOPHY
I view my pottery as an extension of myself. A little bit of my spirit goes into each and every piece I craft. When you favorite one of my pieces it feels like you have smiled at me. When you choose to purchase one I am as elated as if you invited me into your home as a welcome guest, or a member of the family. No, you needn't set a place for me at the dinner table. I'll just relish the approval you have given me. Please enjoy the fruits of my labor, my passion, my pottery.
How I ended up loving mud
In my younger adult life I was employed by the United States Citizens... I had a career in the US Navy working in electronics and weaponry on Submarines. I retired from the Navy in 1994.
Most of my life I have I enjoyed woodworking and making furniture. When I retired from the Navy and was considering what to do with my life (knowing I was sick of electronics) my wife suggested I look into designing furniture. Hmmm...didn't realize people did that. So, I found a school and enrolled on the GI Bill. Graduated from Kendall College of Art and Design with a BFA in Furniture design in 2000. My first job took me to High Point, NC where I worked for another designer for 4 years. I learned a lot, enough to get me into trouble perhaps. Decided I could do this on my own. In 2004 I established M.H. Design, Inc. and set about designing furniture for my newly contracted client furniture manufacturer. Love the work. Being my own boss is exhilarating and allows me to determine which 18 hours of each day I want to work. :) Furniture design is still my primary work and most likely will continue till I die. Just can't see myself completely retired.
Early in 2005 my wife and I began taking pottery classes locally. The school was seriously underfunded and as a result much of the equipment was often inoperable. But...the instructor was quite good and encouraging even if the classes were only loosely organized. Long story short, I got fed up with only half of the wheels working at any time and waiting forever to get my work fired because the kilns reliability was less than stellar. After a few months of classes, I bought a wheel and kiln and some commercial glazes and started my real learning.
I am not a production potter. Making the same pot all day long....well, I would rather go shopping (and I hate shopping). I love playing with shape, seeing how far I can push the clay before it collapses, experimenting with different clays and techniques. So you will not see a lot of "sets" in my shop. My aim is to create one of a kind pieces. On rare occasions I even manage to make something that is truly extraordinary. Sometimes the clay goes back into the reclaim bucket, or the fired pot goes in the dumpster. Most often I am able to come out with a pot that I am pleased with and feel that someone else will like it as well.
Fairly early on I got bored with the humdrum nature of commercially prepared glazes and began experimenting with glaze formulation. Now I delight in trying out new glazes, developing my own, or reformulating a recipe from someone else. Each new glaze is a mystery to be solved. What is the best viscosity, the proper application method and thickness, do I fire it with a straight cone fire or does it need a special firing sequence, what clay bodies does it work best on? I know...boring for most, but quite exciting for me.
To date all of my firing has been in a medium size downdraft electric kiln. It has served me well and undoubtedly will for quite some time. I also have a slightly larger updraft gas kiln which I have not been able to get set up...yet. I am anxious to get it running so I can have a whole new set of challenges with reduction firing.
So there is no doubt or confusion... If you see a pot in my shop for sale you can be assured that it was completely produced by my hand. It's just me sitting at that wheel. Only I load, fire, and unload the kiln. I mixed the glaze and put it on the pot. If something goes wrong...I am to blame. When it goes right...I smile. When someone likes my work enough to want it for their own...I am flattered and deeply appreciative.
Hope I haven't bored you to death. I suppose if you weren't interested you wouldn't have gotten this far. hahaha
Thank you for visiting my shop. I hope you found something of interest and I look forward to shipping it to you, or seeing you in my booth at one of the many arts shows I participate in.