enjoy this moment

Ancient Earth Pottery • matthew stockard

I’m a North Carolina potter who makes stoneware in a variety of forms for enjoyment in the garden, kitchen, tea ceremony, back deck, dining room, classroom or boardroom. My work is informed by a lifetime of study of the arts of East Asia, a family rooted in the traditions of North Carolina craft, and a love of contemplative living. Please enjoy these pages, pause for a while in your busy life, and let this art help you remember a calm moment in nature’s beauty which gave you refreshment.


One Stroke: A Turquoise and Shino Platter


I have been blessed, on multiple occasions, to be a student of the great Zen master, scholar, peacemaker and artist, Kazuaki Tanihashi, who is very famous for his ‘one stroke’ paintings, executed in a single breath and in one action of the brush. Kaz is very aware that each small action we engage is an act with vast strength, reach and meaning. “Each line we draw carries our wish for our children and their children.” he writes in one of his many books. My own notes from working with him include this: “Each line has a beginning which is more than a beginning and an ending which is more than an ending.” The line of my life is rooted in so many others, and hopefully offers energy to lives far beyond my own. This platter is my first execution of a “one stroke” painting on a ceramic body. Calligraphers will see the lines beginning beyond itself and the end which does not end. About my favorite item I produced this year, and I will hope to see this line again in coming years.

A Simple Arrangement


Sometimes we all need a moment of small to help us refocus our ability to be present to the vast wonders which surround us. For me, sometimes that is a morning walk where I gather three to five small items from nature: a few leaves, perhaps a flower or a rock. Small ikebana vases like this one are a great tool for this practice, and can produce, from one’s own morning contemplation and enjoyment of nature, a similar moment for another. This year, there are lots of small ikebana vases like this one in many different glaze styles (with a high quality metal pin frog inside to facilitate the arrangement of your objects of wonder). A very inexpensive way to move the enjoyment of your morning walk onto your desk or reception area so others might enjoy this moment.

Heron dance


One of my great delights, nearly all my life, has been brush play in the form of sumi-e. As I grew interested in ceramic work, I knew I wanted to develop a glaze which would behave in a way similar to ground ink on kozo paper. Much of my ceramic work has such brush play on it. This dancing heron is a large platter, which is glazed very lightly with orange shino – not enough to make it shiny, but enough to protect the brushwork. The platter feels coarse and textural, not smooth. But I’ve made several platter styles this year. Large platters in 2015 include this heron, some wacky carrots, wind-blown bamboo, textural dragonflies on ponds of shino and a few more! Head to Finch Blueberry Farm outside of Bailey, NC on November 8th 2015 to see a grand assortment of my work and visit with a great many other artists as well – in what must be East Carolina’s largest pottery festival. Music, easy parking, great art. What a great Sunday afternoon! (early birds: starts Sunday morning at 10 AM!)

an adult Tea set with East Asian influences


A challenge came from a friend to produce an East Asian influenced tea set. This large and rustic teapot has wondrous texture (as do the plates) drawn from classic Japanese patterns. Yunomi and small plates complete the set, but I’m going to have to add some great sencha to warm those winter afternoons. A similar teapot (without the turquoise glaze) will be at the November 8 show at Finch Farm. One might build their own set, as there will be yunomi and lots of small plates in many different glaze styles. Come and enjoy!

iga style vase with cobalt ash


This large and heavy vase has a ceramic frog in it designed to support a small tree branch, although it will also be great with a bouquet from the grocery! Shino and cobalt ash have combined with slips to produce some subtle and beautiful effects on both sides of this great vase. It will be at the Ancient Earth Pottery Booth at the Dan Finch Open House on November 8, 2015.

New Works are coming!

Opening a new kiln is always a bit like going to a new place, or unwrapping a Birthday present, or cooking something one has never before attempted. It’s exciting, can be disappointing or enthralling. So new works are a bit like that as well. This bamboo platter, using shino in some multilayered ways in both the platter and the brushwork on the platter, is a happy surprise!Bamboo multi platter



This thin and tall hanaire (a tea ceremony flower vase) is elegant and reminds me of koi swimming in a line. It’s very nice to arrange in—even a simple branch resting within looks very nice indeed. You can see it at the Ancient Earth Pottery show at the Dan Finch Open House this weekend! http://www.danfinch.com/openhseA.htm


Bamboo sprig plates – all sizes

Bamboo sprig plates - all sizes

I’ve been really enjoying some plate making this year, and have not had opportunity to make as many as I’d like. These “bamboo sprig” plates are headed for my show at the Dan Finch Open House. Beautiful subtle shino and ash texture on these. Come and see them! (and get them for a song before they go to galleries!) http://www.danfinch.com/openhseA.htm


Iga-style hanaire (tea ceremony flower vase)

Iga-style hanaire (tea ceremony flower vase)

This vase is an amazing textural beauty, from a recent anagama firing. Come and enjoy it during the Dan Finch Open House – you’ll find Ancient Earth Pottery – along with a great many other fantastic potters, awaiting you there. http://www.danfinch.com


You want that?

You want that?

It’s sort of a zen question, given the fierce and ugly nature of the fish, isn’t it? You’ll find this great platter free of argument at the upcoming show at Dan Finch’s Open House – not to mention lots more: Sunday, November 10 from 10 to 5. More info and directions at http://www.danfinch.com