This is the new home of vtpots.com, piggy backing on my Jfboyer.net website.
I retired from making pottery in 2013 and from web design in 2018 so I’m fully retired. I’m studying Montpelier area history and geology. I’ve reworked this website to show how my studio was set up and what I used to make. Maybe it will be useful to new potters as they try to figure out how to start a business! I was a full time production potter from 1975 to 2013.
I tried throwing pots at Goddard College in 1972 and had to drop everything else from that moment on. The college provided a structure in which I could do an apprenticeship in a production studio owned by Faith Sussman for almost a year. That gave me a real feeling for what a life in clay would be like. The pottery program at Goddard also emphasized the nuts and bolts of being a potter. We made clay and glazes(without MASKS!), built and fired kilns, fixed leaky gas lines and changed electric kiln elements.
I got married to Tony the same summer I graduated and we bought land and built a house and studio. Starting the studio and a family at the same time was a challenge, but we all survived. I’ve been married to Tony since 1973 and we’ve raised 2 children who are a joy. And no, the kids aren’t potters!
I was fortunate to join with 16 other craftspeople to open the Artians Hand Craft Gallery in Montpelier, VT in 1978. I was actively involved as the Operations Diva until 2012. It has grown from 17 exhibitors to 130 and has been designated a Vermont State Craft Center, a big honor. It started as a Coop, and has evolved into a partnership that is still run by 6 craftspeople with the help of an extensive group of dedicated employees. We were able to create a gallery that took care of the exhibitors, customers and staff from the point of view of “insiders”. Every jury was done by experienced craftsepeople with a deep knowledge of processes.
I from 1994 to the early 2010 or so I followed an large national online discussion group (listserv) called Clayart. Here’s the artist’s statement I used for decades. It started with an email responding to a Clayart query asking members WHY ARE YOU A POTTER:
Artist’s Statement from Clayart Post (I felt this way for most of my career and feel very lucky):
“Why am I a potter? I’ve been a full time production potter for over 25 years. I tried throwing pots during my first year at Goddard College in 1972 and had to drop everything else from that moment on. The college also provided a structure in which I could do an apprenticeship in a production studio for almost a year. That gave me a real feeling for what a life in clay would be like.
I got married to Tony the same summer I graduated and we bought land and built a house and studio. Starting the studio and a family at the same time was a challenge, but we all survived. I’ve been married to Tony for 30 years and we’ve raised 2 children who are a joy. And no, the kids aren’t potters!
Now I’m watching a lot of my friends having career crises: quitting jobs, reassessing, going back to school, switching careers. I wonder what’s wrong with me? Why do I still get the chills when picking up a particularly chubby soup bowl. Why is there so much pleasure in the feel of leather hard clay after all these years? It still feels good.
People buy what I make and tell me how much they appreciate it. I love designing: studios, kilns, glazes, forms, show displays, brochures, web pages, price lists, ware racks, all of it. Pot making is active and tiring. Challenging to the mind and body in a nice balance. And I can go bike riding on a beautiful day because the geese are flying: no one disapproves.
I like potters, red hot kilns, equipment catalogues, pots of the present and past. There’s a finger mark, a little handle crack, an iron spot that ties me to the makers. No career crisis here. Of course there’s the time after the holidays when I’m ready to work in a book store, happy to never touch clay again. But that feeling passes every time.”
Here’s a flash from the past- 1972: a 2 minute long video of me driving to the Goddard College Pottery with my friend Eunice and my Dog Sephie, in the baby blue Toyota Land Cruiser, and then I thow a big pot on a kick wheel: