Rick Berman has been a potter for forty-three years. He earned his MFA in Ceramics from the University of Georgia in 1973 and served as founder and director of the ceramics program at Callanwolde Art Center in Atlanta from 1973-1980. After a nine-month Artist in Residency with the South Carolina Arts Commission he and his wife Jennifer opened Berman Gallery (1981-1997) featuring some of the world's most celebrated artists including Andy Warhol, Andres Serrano, Robert Motherwell, Howard Finster, Peter Voulkos, and Living National Treasure Tatsuzo Shimaoka.
Rick has taught at numerous schools including Penland, Arrowmont, John C. Campbell Folk Scool, The Hambidge Center, Brookfield Craft Center, The University of Georgia, Georgia State University, North Georgia College, West Georgia College, The Everson Museum, The University of Hawaii, Emory University, The Arusha School in Tanzania, Africa, the Pune Ceramics Center in Poona, India, and The University of Kentucky to name a few.
Rick has also served as curator and juror for numerous exhibitions and has authored two books, Teapots and Rick Berman Clayworker, and written articles for Ceramics Monthly, Art Papers, Claytimes, and Studio Potter which include interviews with Peter Voulkos, Paul Soldner, Jack Earl, Seth Cardew, Don Reitz, Lauren Gallaspy, Simon Levin, Andy Nasisse, and Ron Meyers. His work has appeared on the covers of Ceramics Monthly and Claytimes and in more than a hundred one-man, group, and invitational exhibitions.
His work can be found in a variety of collections including those of The High Museum, The Harriet Tubman Museum, Andres Serrano, Peter Voulkos, The Chicago Art Institute, The Takasaeo Research Institute in Tokoyo, Xu Xing Thao in Suzhou, China, the Mehera Irani Estate in Meherazad, India, Congressman John Lewis, Jane Fonda, and Yo Yo Ma to name a few.
Rick is presently experimenting with the unique salt and charcoal method of firing he calls Salku and often leads workshops on this technique as well as Raku, Kiln Building, Teapots and all types of wheel work. From 1997 to present Rick has taught ceramics in the Upper School at Pace Academy in Atlanta, Georgia.
I’ve been working with a process that combines raku and salt glaze firing techniques, which I call “SALKU.” It is done by tumble stacking pots, which is a process of stacking pots on one another rather than on kiln shelves. They are then covered with charcoal, and rock salt is introduced into the kiln at white-hot temperatures (2380 degrees F). The result is similar to the pots that were made and wood-fired in the ancient kilns of Japan—Tamba, Echizen, Bizen, Shigaraki, and Tokoname, to name a few traditional pottery villages and their wares.