At the age of 38, I took my first pottery class with Leslie Curry who offered a beginner’s class through Orange County’s lifelong learning program. The class met at a middle school, 12 women sharing one wheel over a six-week period. The class met one night a week for two hours so each of us spent about 15-minutes a week trying to center a one-pound ball of clay. It wasn’t enough time, of course, but it was enough to totally engage me. Shortly thereafter, I bought my own wheel and for a brief span I was able to work daily. My skill level improved tremendously. Leslie became a mentor and a close friend. As the resident potter at the Maitland Art Center, she taught me how to mix glazes, load and unload a kiln, and how to do a reduction firing.
Over the next three decades, I took classes and attended workshops with many outstanding potters, most from Central Florida. The potters who helped me grow included Jim Phillips, Susie Vey, Julie Harbers, Jane Skinner, Susan Bach, Barbara and Del Seamans, Barbara Bailey, and Rob and Bet Mangum who taught a beginning pottery class at the John Campbell Folk school in North Carolina.
I have attended workshops with Bill Van Gilder, Cynthia Bringle and Stephen Hill. Lately, I have enjoyed watching the Great Pottery Throwdown on HBO Max with Keith Brymer Jones and many outstanding British potters. I seem to be just as mesmerized watching others throw as when I throw pots myself.
Although I have rarely had time to work full time on pottery, I find the zen experience involved in the creative process is extremely satisfying. And the potters I have met and worked with are some of the kindest, most helpful people I know.