My involvement in ceramics began in Rochester, Minnesota in the fall of 1967 when my high school art teacher encouraged me to use my study hall time in the ceramics studio. After a few sessions I felt an undeniable connection with the material and the process. Six months later I sold my stereo system to a friend and headed to Minneapolis to buy a brand new Shimpo RK2 potters wheel at Minnesota Clay for $230.00.
Throughout my undergraduate studies at Mankato State University my primary focus was making pottery. During that time my professor introduced me to glaze research. His knowledge and inspiration set me on what is now a life long investigation of glaze chemistry.
Upon entering graduate school at the University of Colorado my personal goal was to put my potter’s wheel aside and concentrate on ceramic sculpture and glaze development. I taught myself how to make plaster molds and consequently developed a body of slip cast work. Occasionally I still made pots as the ceramics studio held a pottery sale twice a year. It was an enjoyable, momentary distraction from my thesis work.
In the fall of 1977 I started my teaching career at the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater. As it turned out it would be my only teaching job. I spent the next 35 years working with outstanding faculty and students, retiring in 2012. During those years I was committed to teaching and to the making of ceramic sculptures. However pottery making was never abandoned, as it was one of the processes I taught in the UWW ceramics studio. Each fall I would also turn my studio into a pottery production studio to prepare for the annual UWW Pottery Sale.
My involvement in glaze research did not lose intensity during those teaching years and proved to be very beneficial as I was approaching retirement. The entire spectrum of my glaze testing to that point was devoted to reduction (gas kiln) firing. However my home studio was equipped with only electric kilns due to the building codes for my urban property. Therefore I needed to develop a new body of glaze recipes that would be effective in oxidation (electric kiln) firing. It took about two years and approximately 1600 individual tests to arrive at the twenty glazes I am presently using.
Upon retiring from teaching I made a conscious decision to return to my roots and devote my creative endeavors solely to making pottery. Glaze research is still a very important part of my studio routine, as is the development of a throwing process using original plaster hump molds designed and fitted for use on the potter’s wheel.