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About Richard Aerni

richard aerniI came to clay by accident. After a New Year’s Eve party in the early 1970’s, the room in which I had been told I could sleep turned into a gallery of wood-fired pots at first light. The colors and textures of the glazes captivated me. A couple of years later I took a class at the local pottery – six weeks of Tuesday nights, 6-9 pm – it was enough to hook me.

I have no formal education in clay, or art for that matter, but have managed to make my living as a potter for over forty years. It has been my good fortune to share the company and talents of many an accomplished potter on my journey to competency in clay. All of them have left their mark on me, as have the many mistakes and false starts I have made along the way.

Eventually I discovered the processes that have marked the parameters of my work – ash glazes and single firing. I feel in tune with the patterns and textures the ash creates, and the decision to single fire led me down paths which have greatly influenced the way that I visualize, form, and finish the pots. The look of the ash glazes has not paled over the forty years I have worked with them. They have changed along the way, and change still, and that search for, and exploration of their nature is part of the joy and challenge I find in clay.

Artist Statement

I’m not feeling particularly eloquent during this long national time of suffering, so I will simply enumerate some of the qualities I try to present in my work:
Functionality, good form, pleasing proportions, ergonomic ease, color and texture through the use of slips, an emotionally satisfying landscape of colors drawn from the natural interaction of layers of minerals in the glazes, brought forth by high heat and controlled cooling.


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