Courtney Martin is a full-time studio potter living and working in the mountains of North Carolina near Penland. Courtney grew up outside New York City on Long Island. As a freshman at University of New Mexico, she took a ceramics class on a whim and fell in love with clay. After graduating with a BFA in Ceramics, Courtney moved to Western North Carolina and for four years worked with and apprenticed for potters Terry Gess, Michael Kline, Cynthia Bringle, and others. In 2006, she began making her living as a studio potter. By 2007, she was awarded a Regional Artist Project Grant to fund the construction of her wood-fired cross-draft climbing kiln. Since she first began working with clay over 14 years ago, her work has continued to grow and find audiences all over the world, including a July 2010 solo show in Okinawa, Japan.
As a gardener, cook, mother, and potter, I think a lot about food. It makes me so happy to serve something I know to be nourishing. I think that is why making pots seems so special to me. I love setting a table full of different bowls and plates and trays containing wholesome foods.
When I am in my studio making pots, I consider how I intend the pots to be used. Different pots for different foods. I work in series, and try to improve the form on each successive pot. The rhythm of my kickwheel, and the pace of making slab work are just the right speed for me. When I glaze my pots I consider how foods will be presented in the pottery. I draw bold patterns on my simple pots. I try to bring something of an urban sensibility to traditional forms and techniques.
The environmental implications of my craft are important to me, so I make my firings carbon neutral by using waste wood from the local saw mill to fire my kiln. I appreciate the connection that tending the fire affords. Wood crackles quietly and I am directly involved with the kiln. I love that the fire, ash, and salt make their mark on my pots.
I aim to make pots with integrity that radiate sweetness and joy.