Awhile back Gary Rith asked me how I knew Clary Illian and today he asked about Linda Christensen. Here's my response (and then some more I just added at the end)
<<Hey Gary, You asked about Clary Illian a while back and now Linda. When I started making pots in 1992 I met a few well known potters, Will Ruggles and Douglass Rankin, Michael Simon and Ron Meyers. I also discovered Warren Mackenzie early on. I saw from these folks pots the kind of pots I wanted to make. So for several years I attended conferences and went to workshops where I could see these folks make pots and listen to them tell their stories. I’ve had workshops with Linda C., Clary, Will and Douglass, and Mary Law as just to name a few. I’ve seen Warren work several times, as well as Ron Meyers (I’m sort of a groupie with Ron, I’ll go anywhere to see him work), Michael Simon, Randy Johnston, Jeff Oestrich, and many others. You prob. see a pattern here. Most of these folks are from the Leach/Hamada ’school’.
Anyhow by now I’ve visited most of these folks at their homes and studios and gotten to know some of them rather well and some only in a small way. We have LOTS of good pots in the house. Lucky for me I knew a good pot when I saw one back in ‘92. I’m still trying to impart some of the qualities of these pots into my own. It’s nice to have so many to live with and to teach me.>>
After writing Gary I set the table up with a bunch of pots from around the house. These are my teachers. The people who made these are the potters mentioned above, plus a few extras. I love using the pots we have. There are some of these that are show pieces, but we have tons of bowls, mugs and plates that I can study while using them. I feel like over the years their qualities just seep into place with me. I've never made pots to become well known or rich or whatever. I fell in love with pots because they were beautiful and useful. I have always just wanted to be the local potter, putting pots in folks homes. I have enjoyed getting pots further out in the world and getting to know more and more people and potters who's work inspires me. It's a journey and I guess I have a long road to travel (hopefully) to learn to make the best pots I can at any given time.
There's a man who has helped me and encouraged me more than any of the folks above though. He is a potter from Seagrove, North Carolina who I met early on after I started making pots. He took me in like a son and has always been there for me to help with pottery related things as well as personal things. His name is Tom Gray. And he'll get a post all to himself.