Pottery Introduction This is my story and I'm sticking to it! Gallery listings,and online gallery of wood fired and ash glazed pottery Contact Information, Directions, and Map Online pottery shop Craft Show, Classes, Workshops, and Other Events Sites of interest

The history behind Jeff Brown Pottery...

The clay work of my first 20 years had been almost exclusively functional pottery. I have been using the function of forms for every day use as a medium for my creative expression. My latest work represents an effort to reach beyond the basics of strictly functional pottery. My fascination with surrealism, and the limitlessness of the imagination to conceive of that which does not exist encourages me to create new forms that give life to the basic function of traditional pottery. To further inspire my creative process I look to the beauty of design elements that the earth has to offer.

I am drawn to the natural earth qualities of clay: the smell, the look, the feel of its    granular surface as it's stretched by the pressure of my fingertips. My fascination with texture and the pliable nature of clay leads me to examine not just the outside, or on the skin, but inside, below the surface. I challenge myself by finding new ways to better express and use these elements in my work. I find the historical uses of clay, wood, metal, and stone valuable resources, but nothing speaks to me more clearly than the material itself and how it responds to manipulation.

The firing process has become as elemental in my work as the forms and textures I use. The controlled chaos of the woodfiring process enhances the surfaces of my pottery in a way that I cannot do in the glazing process alone. Imagining how flame and ash will leave their mark on my work, caressing the textures as they wrap around the forms, affects the way I think of my work in the studio.

I have been addicted to clay ever since that first whiff of the intoxicating aroma of a fresh bag of clay in my High school art class. It was then that I discovered my fondness for the yielding nature of clay, that invites my every touch. I try to approach clay with that same lust for discovery each time I start to work.

 

I grew up close to a traditional folk pottery community but found that clay has much more to offer than a basic functional use.  Most of the first pieces I made with clay were abstract and surrealistically sculptural. Hand building processes offer the opportunity to feel the suppleness of clay; that sensual sensation that drew me away from painting.  I have found ways to incorporate handbuilding techniques into my wheel work, and I spend as much time as I can just manipulating clay with my fingers.

I have dedicated myself to the growth of my creative skills and to traveling deeper into the art of clay and the creation of interesting pottery forms.   I have also found satisfaction in my need to share the knowledge I have absorbed from my experiences and have been conducting classes at my studio and offering workshops and demonstrations for others. Through demonstrations and the challenge of teaching pottery, I relearn how I make pottery, and why I am fascinated with every aspect of working with clay. 

I am a juried member of the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen, and active member of the Seagrove Area Potters Association, and I am the Past President of the New Hampshire Potters Guild.  I've recently joined the Carolina clay matters potters guild, and renewed my membership to the Potters Council.

I’ve been working with clay since my high school art teacher introduced me to pottery in 1976.  I had been inspired and intrigued by the terra-cotta figure sculptures my sister had created when she was taking classes from the same teacher.  You could say I was raised on clay, since I come from the clay rich soil of North Carolina. 

I started my professional career as a potter in 1981, making piggy banks in a Wilmington, NC pottery.  After spending the next 7 years working for various studio and production potters along the North Carolina coast and in Seagrove (North Carolina’s pottery Mecca) I decided to take a job at a New Hampshire-based salt-glaze pottery factory.

I enjoyed working for this company because it made me feel like an important and extremely productive part of something bigger than myself . 
For 10 years I threw production, designed new items, and helped new potters learn shapes for this line of turn-of-the-century reproduction stoneware. 

Salmon Falls Stoneware was a large pottery factory that made traditional style slip trailed saltglaze pottery, in the style of Norton Pottery, and other traditional New England, and Hudson River salt glazed pottery makers of the 1800's...there's that connection to traditional pottery again...

Occasionally working on design ideas of my own bizarre imagination, I slowly became unhinged enough to start thinking seriously about doing craft shows. After spending 17 years working for other potters, I felt a strong urge to release the creativity I had bottled up inside myself.

So, I set up a studio in my basement, made a bunch of nothing-too-fancy mugs, bowls, vases, piggy banks, and started hitting the local street shows.
This is a very tough way to make money, but a lot of people do a good job at it.
...I still kept my job at the factory.

Within a year I felt confident enough to even start entering my work into juried art exhibitions.  After being accepted into a couple of shows, I realized I should 
(and wanted to) focus on making the most creative work I can make for myself, since I was doing production back at the factory.  Creating, after all, is my favorite part of making pottery .

Even though I was able to make progress with my creative endeavors, a dark dank cellar was not the most inspirational environment to work in.
When the opportunity to open my own studio and retail shop came along, I gradually moved out of my basement studio and started working out of the storefront studio that I’m in now.

With the help of several very good friends I have been able to dedicate myself to the growth of my creative skills and to traveling deeper into the art of pottery.   I have also found satisfaction in sharing the knowledge I have absorbed from my experiences and have been conducting classes at my studio and offering workshops and demonstrations for others. 

My studio at Northwood Pottery was housed in an eighteenth century New England barn.  Northwood Pottery has existed, in one form or another, since 1972, when Jeff Lalish & George Niles converted the old 1794 barn into a pottery studio.  The barn had previously been Northwood Garage, where Lalish’s grandfather had run a gas station and Model T repair from the 1920's on.

This studio was a much more comfortable place to work in than the Dover basement, with plenty of room for my imagination to stretch its legs.

After several years of making pots at the Northwood Pottery location, and driving a half hour from Dover where I lived at the time, I was able to find a home and studio location in Northwood.

My studio from 2003 - 2008 was housed in a nineteenth century New England barn.  It is located only 4 miles west of my previous studio.  This location gave even more room for my thoughts and imagination to run wild. I  also live a close 30 second walk from home to the studio and gallery, so I could spend much more time with the clay.

Today...  I share my Seagrove, North Carolina pottery studio and gallery with Michele Hastings.

 


J.B.P. Logo

Jeff Brown
Pottery

1423 NC Hwy 705
Seagrove, NC 27341
336-873-1001

jeff@jeffbrownpottery.com
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Pottery Introduction This is my story and I'm sticking to it! Gallery listings,and online gallery of wood fired and ash glazed pottery Contact Information, Directions, and Map Online pottery shop Craft Show, Classes, Workshops, and Other Events Sites of interest