Clay Times Back Issues Vol. 2 Issue 4 • May/June 1996 - Page 30

Ben Owen III Southwest and Africa. But he still follows the family tradition of focusing on the specific aspects that traditional North Carolina pottery shares with early Chinese and Korean pottery: bold, clear forms. As he carries on this tradition, his work increasingly speaks with a voice more singularly his own. continued from page 7 integrated and valued role a pot can play in the daily life of a community. After working side-by-side with master potters there, Ben noted, “In Japan, pots speak the language of the maker, as well as the space they consume in society. They are an important part of Japanese society.” He returned from During the sumhis trip with a clearmer of ’95, Ben took a er appreciation of dramatic step in his the important role of development as a functional pottery in world-class potter. As daily life. pivotal as Asian pot- Ben Owen III at work in a tery was to his grand- Japanese studio, summer 1995. “Sometimes Americans put simfather and the ple pots on a shelf, and never use Busbees, they never once traveled them,” he said. “That's okay, but it to Asia to see the real context that made such work possible. Yet Ben’s will make the potter happy if it is used in some way in everyday life. six-week journey to pottery comThe life of the pot is then communities in Japan offered him a plete.” ■ first-hand understanding of the Dominican Pottery and doused the art pieces with cold water. The finished work was very interesting. The areas where the palm fronds had been had burned slower, and formed a partial resist against the flames. There were faint outlines of the palm leaves against black areas. The result was a varied surface of intense black, with patches of the clay’s natural tone. Kiln Building/Ceramics Workshop in N. Georgia with Ben Owen III July 29-August 10 Build a wood-fired kiln and make pots with a master. (Also, bring pieces to fire.) $600 (tuition, lodging, 1 meal/day, materials); $375 (no lodging) Application deadline: July 1 THE HAMBIDGE CENTER 706-746-5718 30 ▼ continued from page 25 By the end of my stay at Altos de Chavon, I had been able to forge friendships with my fellow ceramists, and had been given the unique opportunity to exchange art and culture through a fun, productive, and inspirational experience.■ Christopher Garcia is currently the ceramics and sculpture instructor at Mississippi Valley State University in Itta Bena.