John T. Dietrich, potter
“Each piece of my work tells the story of the maker creating beautiful and functional stoneware to enrich daily life. My finger marks are visible on each piece.
I am interested in the technical aspects of clay and enjoy pushing its limits. I solve problems such as throwing pitchers that feel empty when held, designing cups that fit the hand, and in the process I elevate everyday objects and the everyday experience into art.
For each piece I answer questions such as what glaze does the shape suggest, where to add and subtract with my tools, when and where to start the brush work, the application of colored clay slips and the porcelain line. My painterly, abstract approach and desire for a warm palette is my driving force.
I was inspired to become a studio potter after reading Bernard Leach. I was encouraged by my mentor Abe Cohn to persist in my desire to master my materials. The goal to throw the perfect bowl sends me to the studio.
I like to put life into otherwise lifeless materials and I like the fact that this process is complicated. This new pit fire process has captured me because of what the burning wood imparts on the surface of the hot clay. To me, it is all about discovery and the random effects of the fire.”
1943-Born Appleton, Wisconsin
1966-Graduated Lawrence University:B.A. Fine Arts-Ceramics
1967-University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh;Post Graduate With Paul Donhauser
1968-1974-Potter’s Wheel Milwaukee, WI & Fish Creek, WI: Abe Cohn’s Assistant
1974-Present-Ellison Bay Pottery Studios Inc. Founder & Potter
1981-Door County Potter’s Guild co-Founder
Diane McNeil, writer, potter
“For as long as I can remember, words were the most important means of communication to me. Writing was as natural as breathing, and any other form of artistic expression seemed foreign.
After experiencing many art classes and workshops, I discovered polymer clay and bead making and lost myself in the process. But to me it wasn’t art; it was fooling around with richly colored ‘clays’; it was creating something beautiful and wearable.
I experimented with metalsmithing, painting, pastels. And then I became intimate with clay. I learned backwards: glazing first, shapes second. I learned showroom display theory and retail psychology. I learned when and how to stick clay pieces together, and began understanding what it was I was trying to say with clay that I couldn’t with words.”
1951-Born Kankakee, IL
1976-Graduated Northern Illinois University B.A. Political Science, Pre-Law
1978-1993: Dairy Farmer, Mother, and Home school teacher, writer, bead maker
1977-present: Self taught author and artist
1994- present: Co-owner and potter at Ellison Bay Pottery Studios Inc.
In National and International Collections
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