I love making stuff that inspires delight.
About my work
Making pots is simultaneously one of the most rewarding and frustrating use of that old idea factory rattling around between my ears. In periods of my life where I haven't been active in a studio, my notebooks tend to get inundated with sketches and daydreams for when our love is reunited. When we do get back together again, some ideas need to remain just ideas (for lots of reasons).
Like most potters, I Iike a bit of chaos, while working within the confines of the medium. Clay has hard and fast rules. There is an element of danger that cannot be denied. Yet clay has reassuring and flexible qualities. Best of all, it gathers creative people to commune in shared rituals: making, firing, cooking, eating.
In my education and exploration into form, decoration, and technique, I have experimented aplenty. I plan to continue to do so. As time has gone on, this experimentation has become more focused, converging on central ideas and repeated variations:
Use - One of the loveliest aspects of clay is that it begs for the user's involvement, to touch, use, explore, flip over, cradle, wash, and sometimes--and hopefully not for a long time--break. There is an intimate bridge traveled between the user and creator when we interact with clay works. A pot's form and function often asks its next owner to hold and consider the piece in similar ways that the maker held and considered it when creating it.
Home - I was raised in Alaska, on Iñupiaq land in Sitŋasuaq (Nome). While Alaska isn't my generational home, my personal living memory is filled with images essential to the place: Lichen-crusted shale; bundles of fireweed becoming translucent pink jelly; purple stained fingertips; steaming loaves of bread; tiny, stubborn bushes. I reference these motifs in the forms, textures and surfaces of my pots. I also associate "home" with feelings of comfort and nourishment.
Delight - The idea that this emotion, contagious as a baby's laugh, can be evoked by or serve as a reminder through clay is my essential motivation in making. Not only noticing my own delight, but drinking in the moments in time when I can feel it from others.
I began my relationship with clay over 10 years ago while at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA. After moving to Homer, I was mentored by Ruby Haigh at the Jars of Clay Studio for nearly six years. In exchange for studio space, I helped with many aspects of running a studio--from mixing glazes, to inventory and ordering, to online commerce and craft fairs. When Jars of Clay closed in 2021, I was invited to a similar arrangement at Paul Dungan's studio. Ruby and Paul have been fantastic teachers and mentors to me, and I have tried my best to repay this generosity with hard work and reliability.
Come see my work at Paul Dungan's Studio out east end off Icy Bay Drive. I will have pieces for sale, and will be available to help guide tours of the studio alongside Paul. Masks are encouraged to protect our most vulnerable.
Following the tour, I will have an online sale via Instagram. Follow @tschmidtpottery for the date and time that pieces and prices will be posted. The sale will be open for 1 week or when inventory runs out, with shipping available.
Paul Dungan Studio
57725 Icy Bay Drive
Homer, AK 99603
From town: Travel east on Pioneer avenue, after the three way stop light Pioneer turns into East End road. Go 5.5 miles on East End Road, turn left on Icy Bay Drive. There is a sign on the left reading “Paul Dungan Pottery. On Icy By Drive, Paul’s studio is the fourth house on the left.