Going to Pot

August 23, 2010

Back in June I confessed my weakness for art pottery with matte green glazes. I’ll have a chance to see matte green pottery, and a whole lot more, this weekend at the Wisconsin Pottery Association’s annual show and sale.

I like these kind of events because I see a lot and learn a lot. The pottery show combines a more studied, formal “show” where I’ll see pottery from afar. But Saturday’s event includes a “sale,” which means real hands-on learning, too.

The show part of the day will feature Wisconsin pottery from the last 80 years. It will include studio pottery by Kurt Wild and Abe Cohn, among others, and production pottery from a range of producers including one not terribly familiar to me: Pittsville Pottery in Wood County. I look forward to seeing work that is both familiar and surprising.

Samples of Pittsville Pottery

I have the same expectations at the sale. Best of all will be the tactile experience of pottery – the feel of a glaze, the touch of an incised line, the heft of a pot. Pottery offers a visual experience, to be sure, that is only enhanced by seeing it up close and turning a pot to catch a sparkle, a tiny decorative detail, or a pinpoint gap in glazing — the kind if “imperfection” that I find appealing.

For me it’s not about buying or being obsessed with building a collection. If I see a pot I like, I may go for it. Even if I leave with nothing wrapped tightly in a brown paper bag, it will be a full day.

–Michael Bridgeman