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I have been making pottery for 38 years working in a studio that I share with my wife and partner Leta Cormier.  We each make our own pieces, while sharing materials, studio work and continuous learning.   Occasionally we collaborate on a few pieces.

My formal education is in architecture which I practiced for 27 years.  Pottery training has been mainly through attending numerous workshops and visiting with potters such as Tatsuzo Shimaoka, Lucie Rie, Mick Casson, Warren Mackenzie, Wayne Ngan, David Leach and Otto Heino among others, as well as through study trips to England, Japan and France.  The pottery making traditions of Korea, Japan, China and the “Leach tradition” have also been of special interest.  All of these threads have created a reservoir of experience and inspiration that helps inform the work I make today.

One of the aspects that I most enjoy about pottery making is the direct interaction, a kind of interplay or dance that happens when working “with” the clay, glazes and firing process. I usually work on a small series of pieces.  Each making and firing cycle involves experimentation and exploration of a form, its decoration, and glazing to see what may result.  Every cycle is highlighted by the transformations, sometimes magical, that occur in the kiln during the final glaze firing.  Leta and I share most glaze firings in one of our gas fired reduction kilns, typically firing to cone 10 – 11 (1305⁰C – 1315⁰C) – sometimes even a little higher.  We carefully position pieces in the kiln beforehand, then study and photograph the result of each firing as part of an ongoing learning process that in turn fuels new possibilities for further exploration.

I work mostly on the potter’s wheel and enjoy seeing/feeling the sense of form and fullness of space being created inside a vessel as it emerges on the wheel.  Often I alter a shape or the surface of a piece at various stages of wetness to create new gestures and character.  For me, the form of a pot represents its bones and during a firing the melting glazes drape and flow over that bone structure to help create the final look, feel and expression of the finished piece.  No two pots are ever exactly the same.  I strive to make pottery vessels that embody a natural quality of wholeness and beauty that people can use and enjoy in their everyday lives.

Don Cormier portrait