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Meet the Pottery Jammers: Dan Finnegan, Mark Shapiro and Sam Taylor

Meet the Pottery Jammers: Dan Finnegan, Mark Shapiro and Sam Taylor

Potters Dan Finnegan, Mark Shapiro and Sam Taylor are just three of the potters who are going to get together on Thursday, October 26 for a Pottery Jam at District Clay. These potters will show off their skills, challenge each other to do tricks on the wheel and just have a great time. You’ll even have the chance to challenge them on the wheel yourself! Before you kick off Pottery on the Hill at the Pottery Jam, take a few minutes to learn about these wild and crazy guys.

DAN FINNEGAN

Dan Finnegan is the curator for the Pottery on the Hill Show and one of its biggest advocates. His pottery career began more than 40 years ago when a college friend taking a class invited him to throw a pot. Hooked from the start, Dan found my way to England where he got a job at the Winchcombe Pottery. He moved to Fredericksburg, Virginia and has been a significant player in the arts scene there ever since.

Why are you a potter?

You’d think that this was an easy question, but it would take a few hours to answer. I can’t imagine any other life!

What would you be if you weren’t a potter?

I went to college thinking that I would be a lawyer! Pottery saved me from that!

What do you like the most about Pottery on the Hill?

I love the elegant setting of Hill Center and the friendships that have grown over the years.

What do you think is the biggest misunderstanding/incorrect idea about pottery – and what’s the truth?

It is hard for patrons to understand the long hours and sometimes repetitious work required to produce our work. Weekends off are a myth!

Anything you want to add or tell people who might come to Pottery on the Hill?

The intimate scale of the show gives visitors a wonderful opportunity to meet the potters and get to know a bit about who they are and how they create their work.

SAM TAYLOR

At the Dog Bar Pottery, potter Sam Taylor makes handmade, one-of-a-kind stoneware and porcelain. The pots are wheel thrown, wood fired and salt glazed.

Why are you a potter?

The hard one first. Good luck and for love.

What would you be if you weren’t a potter?

I do other things beside make pottery. I have a wife and kids and family and friends. I made a wooden spoon the other day. If I wasn’t a potter, I would be unlucky, I guess.

What do you like the most about Pottery on the Hill?

I love DC. It makes me feel proud of our country. Hill Center embodies all the goodness of DC and combines it with my pottery family. Pottery on the Hill becomes a perfect storm of goodness.

What do you think is the biggest misunderstanding/incorrect idea about pottery – and what’s the truth?

Functional pottery is meant to be used. AND when it is used properly can lead directly to happiness, beauty, love, intimacy, peace…and a lot of other really great things.

Anything you want to add or tell people who might come to Pottery on the Hill?

I’ll be there.

 

MARK SHAPIRO

Mark Shapiro has made wood-fired functional pots in Western Massachusetts for the past 25 years. He is frequent workshop leader, lecturer, panelist, curator, writer, and mentor to a half-dozen former apprentices.

Why are you a potter?

What is it that defines humankind? The acquisition of fire? Language? Erect ambulation? Certainly making stuff lies somewhere at the heart of it and making pottery is an essential and ancient part of that ontology. Making pots at this moment in time is an act that honors our shared humanity and defies meaningless labor.

What would you be if you weren’t a potter?

Lord knows! I shutter to think.

What do you like the most about Pottery on the Hill?

Being together with colleagues and selling our pots to benefit a good not-for-profit cultural institution, and visiting the Freer with Louise Cort.

What do you think is the biggest misunderstanding/incorrect idea about pottery – and what’s the truth?

That it’s all Ghost or badly executed and quaint design, made for relaxation or for “fun.” There are many wonderful, expressive, excellent, thoughtful pots being made today – and they’re accessibly priced. You can use them everyday. After all, you can’t eat off a painting.

Anything you want to add or tell people who might come to Pottery on the Hill?

You will be blown away by the quality, variety and joyfulness of this work and its makers.

 

The Pottery Jam at District Clay is Thursday, October 26 from7-9:30. You can reserve tickets to this free event here. Pottery on the Hill runs October 27-29 at Hill Center. The ticketed Preview Reception is Friday, October 27 from 6:30-9. The free Show and Sale runs Saturday, October 28 from 10 am-5 pm and Sunday, October 29 from 11 am-4 pm. Visit potteryonthehilldc.org for more details.

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