Saturday, September 11, 2010


Joe said that 11:00 Sunday morning would be a good time for us to come to his studio and that he would again do a demonstration for us. Amy is directing him in the pie plate of her dreams. He is an artist who makes a living at his art, but with the downturn in the economy, has had to return to the weekend farmer's market venue and confessed to me that after all my nagging for years about pie plates, they're among his best sellers.
Amy and I have told Joe that we like a deep dish pie plate with a 7" base, so he's measuring that with his hands. She asked for a little more depth and then for a flat edge to crimp her crust on. He's already heard this from me.

Joe had already done a teapot that Lexie directed and asked me if there was something else we'd like to see in demonstration. I am a huge fan of what he calls a flounder vase so he's throwing one here.
I am always amazed at how the cone of clay takes form. The pile of clay for Amy's pie plate started in the same form at the pile of clay for his flounder vase. The cylinder now becomes a vase.
Joe put a fan on the green piece for about ten minutes to partially dry it and then set it on this stand so he can form it into the shape he wants.
Joe's wife, Shiho, is also a potter who works in the hand-built tradtion. All these surface designs on his flounder vases are hers, as well as the wonderful little boxes and wall vases below.
Joe is brilliant with the children, all cousins. I've been here during adult classes and can tell you that he's a born teacher. He gives the kids some clay and direction and you can see how they take to it.

Some cousins were still working on their creations using extra water to keep the clay alive. They ended up with clay up to their armpits and had to be hosed down. Notice the Jenga game stacked and ready in the background. After clay, these munchkins turned those Jenga pieces into dominoes and laid out track, after track, after track before the pieces were finally reclaimed by the adults. Petie commented on a morning walk that the kids were totally entertained by wood and mud.
DS Matt, Julia and Alexia are looking at the recently-out-of-the-kiln stuff. I feel fortunate to have a potter right next door. Years ago we visited a pottery studio in Oregon and I commented that I didn't know why I was buying pottery when had a perfectly good potter right next door. The guy asked me who I was referring to, and exuberantly said - Whoa. I know Joe Winter. He works big. Joe works big.

Our grandson Noah and Joe's daughter Hiroka have visited enough to have a tentative friendship and now Noah going back to San Francisco - a poignant moment for four-year-olds.


Marion B. said...

What a lovely post. I smiled when reading it. And aren't they lovely, those four-year-olds.

Nina said...

You are lucky to have such a talented potter near you. I loved the giant Jenga game. Totally brilliant!

re'New said...

Another wish of mine -- pottery! I experienced pottery wheels in high school and really liked it. This is a problem of mine, I like to play with too many different things. Not enough time! I also want sheep so that I can use their wool, goats for their milk for soap, chickens for egss, etc, etc... :)

Robin said...

Joe's work is gorgeous! I've always wanted to do pottery but I've never tried. I see he studied in Greenville, NC at ECU and also exhibited / worked at Seagrove, NC - pottery center of the world! Love the giant Jenga! I have a little one and the boys and I used to love playing.

Leigh said...

I love pottery! And pie plates are an excellent idea!

Annie said...

Nice pottery and certainly also a very nice potter - being so good with children!

Maggie said...

I was watching a man making a set of goblets for a punch bowl set yesterday at the Tennessee Valley Fair, and was absolutely captivated by the method. I agree with you that the process is like magic! Do you feel the urge to learn that next?

Jodi said...

Oh, how neat! Pottery is just fascinating to me. And what a cute moment to capture on film in the last picture.

Minya said...

You know what I love the most about Joe's studio? The smell. It smells like...inspiration.