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13th Annual Pottery Tour & Sale :: July 27th & 28th, 2019, 10am-5pm. Back Roads :: Summertime :: Great Pots

Eric Smith

156 Nash Rd
Cummington, MA 01026

(413) 634-5751


I have been making functional pots for the last 15 years. What began as a necessary distraction from academia in college quickly turned into a full-blown passion only one month into my first ceramics class.

I was immediately drawn to beautiful and often-unsigned folk pots made in rural communities and villages around the world. These pots were made in volume by skilled hands, with crude clays and simple glazes, often fired in large wood burning kilns.

Storage jars, pudding and bean pots, pans, platters, plates, mugs and jugs - these pots were made out of necessity. It is these simple and useful pots that drive me to keep making better pots and to keep asking myself questions about the individuals who made them.

After college, instead of filling out applications for MFA programs, I made a short list of potters whose work I respected and whose links to particular traditions I felt at home with. The following year, Cary Hulin of Big Prairie, OH took me on as his first apprentice. After Cary’s I moved down South to spend two years apprenticing with Mark Hewitt of Pittsboro, NC. [Cary, incidentally, apprenticed with Todd Piker, who apprenticed with Michael Cardew, who apprenticed with Bernard Leach. Hewitt apprenticed with Cardew and then Piker before establishing his own pottery].

These three years as an apprentice built a strong foundation for how I approach my work, both functionally and aesthetically. I strive to make pots that are fluid without being too loose, well controlled without being tight.

Pots have to feel good and be well balanced in your hands, while also possessing surfaces that are interesting, fun, sometimes familiar, sometimes surprising. A good pot should offer beauty and grace to life’s daily rituals.

Guest: Justine Figura and Grant Figura of
Tandem Ceramics


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