It was a real pleasure to go back to the St. John's Pottery to pick up my sculptures.  It's been 6 months since my residency and I felt right at home.  Richard, Ryan, and Brandon took good care of me at tea time and throughout my visit.  Hospitality has been a major lesson of my time at the pottery.  I even got back to the Refrectory (cafeteria) with Brandon!  After I was packed up, Richard was very willing to answer some "making of the studio" questions.  As we were finishing up, I asked him to put the St. John's Pottery in 5 words.  He quickly replied, "a place of sacred beauty."

Richard likes to say that every ceramic piece is influenced by 3 equal forces: the clay, the artist, the kiln.  Even though I was expecting to be surprised by the kiln's contribution to my sculptures, I was still surprised.  The raw power of a raging river of fire is evident in the kiln's effects.  So is the delicate hand of "fire whisperers" who stacked the work predicting the path of flames, and stoked the fire listening to the sound and watching the color.  I'm told the heat got so intense in this 14th firing that the steel on the back door was melted and warped by the rushing river of fire.  At times the flames blast 20 feet into the sky from the top of the chimney.  For all you Avatar fans, these people are earth benders first, then they are fire benders.  Now that I think of it, I may have seen some water bending too...