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Five Questions with Catherine White, Potter

Catherine White is a well-known name in ceramics and we’re so happy that she’s back with us at Pottery on the Hill this year. The photo above is of Catherine with her curtain vase at the prestigious Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. While she’s a great potter, you should also check out her fun sketchbook and blog online!

Why are you a potter?  

I jokingly tell people I am a potter because I grew up in a family of artists and, in my childhood home, all the space on the walls was taken. The only room left for expression was the table. Our family loved to linger at meals and tell joke and stories and I have fond memories of my dad reading the extended family’s round-robin letters aloud. These readings, stories and long-winded jokes created time to contemplate your cup, the rim of a plate or how the lid fit on the sugar bowl. I love that pottery is a chance to have an intimate aesthetic experience.

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

I write and draw almost as often as I make pots so the obvious answer might be writer or painter, but these days I have been dreaming about making animations.

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

I love having an excuse to be on Capitol Hill for a weekend. I enjoy the camaraderie of this group of potters. Last, but not least, is the chance to catch up with friends and clients in DC and to make new contacts. I enjoy the history of the building and its connection with the community.

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

Pottery is an art form that is both tactile and visual. Pottery is like poetry. It uses form, surface and volume to convey deeply held feeling and emotions through the material. It may take time to understand or love an object. It takes touching, use and interaction to love a piece of pottery.

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

Pottery on the Hill is a great chance to see diverse expressions in clay.  There are many styles and approaches, and yet the show is not overwhelming. There is time to talk to the artists and handle the work.

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