enjoy this moment

Author Archive

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


Ancient Earth Pottery @InkStone Gallery

Ancient Earth Pottery @InkStone Gallery

Ancient Earth Pottery has a grand mini-show at InkStone Gallery through the end of the year 2012! Fun big platters have a variety of surfaces, from subtle and elegant to whimsical animals in brushwork.

(Ed note: Unfortunately, InkStone Gallery is no more, having closed in April 2014.)

Thanks to All!

The “One Really Big Show” I do is the Dan Finch Open House, as one of the Studio Potters honored to be associated with that fantastic studio and its master potter. Sunday was glorious, sunny, even unto hot in the greenhouse where Stewart Campbell of Ravenwood Pottery and I shared a fifty foot booth! As you can see from the photo, it was a busy day – thanks to all those who came, examined and engaged this work, and supported it with their enthusiastic purchases! Missed the show? Worry not! InkStone Gallery in Winterville has a good number of Ancient Earth Pottery items.Image

Ancient Earth Pottery at Dan Finch and the Studio Potters Open House

ImageComing soon: East Carolina’s largest annual pottery show and sale. Sunday, November 11 @ the Dan Finch Studio. You’ll find a day worth enjoying with family and friends, over 60 potters (including Ancient Earth Pottery), an astonishing array of excellent contemporary craft in pieces both functional and sculptural — and if that’s not enough, you can take a tour, raku a pot we’ll provide (for a small fee) and take home your own work that very day! Come and visit us! For more information, please go to Dan Finch’s website: http://www.danfinch.com.


(But if you just need quick directions. Head to the Bailey/Spring Hope exit on 264 just outside of Wilson. Drive North off the exit (towards Spring Hope) – you’ll find the studio in about two miles. Look for the signs. (more detailed directions on the Dan Finch website: http://www.danfinch.com)

Contemplating the bowl

Contemplating the bowl,
it is possible to see the
interdependent elements
which give rise to the bowl.

– Thich Nhat Hanh



“Petrified Wood” bowl

This bowl incorporates a new interior surface, using a number of slips and a special glaze, which approximates the appearance of petrified wood.


Bend, don’t break!

Bend, don't break!

Actually, big platters do break when one bends them, but the wisdom of bamboo is that bamboo generally bends instead of breaking. This large platter celebrates this gift – and offers it to special friends.


Large Turquoise Platter with underpainting

Large Turquoise Platter with underpainting

Carolina Birds Yunomi: Cardinal



Carolina Birds Yunomi: Barred Owl

Barred Owl Yunomi

one of the Carolina Birds yunomi series – gas fired in reduction, mishima, engobes


Carolina Marsh Platter

Carolina Marsh Platter

just imagine this big platter (21″) filled with beautiful soft-shell crabs, ready for eating


Triangular Mizusashi

Triangular Mizusashi

a Mizusashi is a water container used in the tea ceremony • this rough box is now in a private collection, but I miss seeing the warmth and variation of the shino surface on this piece • fired not in wood, but in gas reduction


Carolina Birds Yunomi: Carolina Chickadee

Carolina Chickadee Yunomi

Yunomi? Japanese for everyday cup. Think coffee, tea, wine, juice, or your favorite beverage, hot or cold.


a moment of focus

a moment of focus

sometimes all you need is one bloom (and a great little wall to support and water it).


Three Tornadic Vases

Three Tornadic Vases

One evening in spring of 2011, after several days of travel and work through tornado-torn East Carolina, I sat down at the wheel and just let my hands process the week. This produced these three vase meditations upon the astonishingly damaging forces whose results I had witnessed. Clockwise from lower right: Expulsion, Collapse, Shredded. Heavy, heavy bases in a classic reduction teadust glaze made extra dusty (lots of fine yellow crystals) for the occasion.