My life long passion for pottery was sparked when I was a 10-year-old child in Kalamazoo, Michigan. A potter came to our school to give a demonstration and I was immediately transfixed by the magical process of throwing pots on the wheel. As I watched, the potter skillfully transformed a lump of clay into a beautiful and useful form. Amazing! I fell in love with the process then, and I am still in love with it today.
This experience got me excited about art and I began exploring a variety of mediums. Throughout junior high and high school I took courses in painting, printmaking, papier mache, and ceramics. After graduating from Kalamazoo Central High School in 1974, I spent four challenging and transformative years at Berea College in Kentucky. It was here that I began to master the rigors of production throwing (making a series of the same form, usually 10-50 or more pieces at a time.) I take great pleasure in making strong, simple forms that are completely useful, fun to look at and that make everyday living more interesting and satisfying. I learned at Berea that good pottery can serve all these functions simultaneously. My mentors not only helped me to develop technical proficiency, but also my own personal style and a reverence for the well-made useful pot. Looking back, I now realize that the shapes I create will always be a reflection of those difficult, wondrous days at Berea.
After I left Berea, I traveled to England to visit potteries and soak up the country that I love. I met and talked with many potters who shared my enthusiasm for utilitarian pottery. In the world of pottery, as in all disciplines, there are a number of well-respected masters, who are sought out by potter pilgrims from all over the world. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to visit two such masters in their studios, David Leach and Michael Cardew.
Upon my return to the states, I moved to Fredericksburg, Virginia, to work with fellow potter Dan Finnegan for the next three years, putting to use the skills I had learned at Berea and incorporating the influences I had absorbed in my travels.
In 1983 I left pottery making and for the next ten years used my artistic skills and love of physical work in landscape maintenance and design. I found this work satisfying, but still longed to put my hands in clay everyday.
The sudden death of my mother in 1993 ended my self-imposed hiatus from pottery. For years, since high school even, I had dreamed of making my living as a professional potter. More than anyone else, my mother had supported and encouraged my most deeply treasured dream, a dream that simultaneously excited and frightened me. I decided to take the plunge and get back to my roots. This decision turned out to be one of the best I’ve ever made. In honor of my mother I named my business, Virginia’s Dream.
My own journey to mastery over the past 25 years has sometimes taken a circuitous route, the magical process has demanded dedication, discipline and courage. In return it has brought a full measure of joy, a livelihood I take pride in, and many wonderful, long-lasting friendships.
Today I work in the studio I built at my home in Bumpass, Virginia. I tend my garden and goats, make pots 8-12 hours a day and share my home with friends often. I feel truly blessed to have this lifestyle that has been supported by a large and loyal following of customers who have discovered my work at craft shows up and down the East coast. My hope is to offer my pottery to an even larger audience through my Web-site, to spend less time on the road and more time at home, making pots and enjoying life. So please feel free to peruse this site, e-mail us or call. I’m happy to make whatever my customers want.