Clean living, I suppose…..

I must be doing something right.

A few days ago Ben Carter posted the interview he conducted with me from about a month ago. When Ben first contacted me I was thrilled that he wanted to sit down and divert his Red Clay Rambling into the thicket and morass of an Athens style Overkill Gillies Rambling. Thrilled and terrified! I completely trusted Ben to provide the solid foundation for our conversation but I wasn’t confident I could build the necessary scaffolding, framing, and detail work on top of that.

I enjoyed our conversation, but had reservations that my warbling voice and occasional stumbles would negate any good I brought to my half of the conversation. It turns out Ben is as good an editor as he is the conductor of interviews. Maybe even better. The way he smoothed out the rough edges I know for a fact were in the original recording turned the chaos of an actual conversation into a well polished presentation.

me the interviewee

Credit to Ben for not only doing this podcasting so well, but for the service he does to the clay community in making a record of what folks working in our field are thinking. There are so many thoughtful clay artists out there whose experience and perspective shed light on our own path. Putting their thoughts on record in this conversational format is long overdue. And Ben does a remarkable job of leading the conversations into interesting topics. I still find it hard to believe that I am now in the company of the many talented clay artists that Ben has recorded.

If you are not familiar with Ben’s podcasts you should go back and listen to as many as possible. The list of artists he has interviewed is truly astounding. And support what he does if you can. His Kickstarter campaign has just launched. Help support this incredible pottery resource:

Peace all!



About Carter Gillies

I am an active potter and sometime pottery instructor who is fascinated by the philosophical side of making pots, teaching these skills, and issues of the artistic life in general. I seem to have a lot to say on this blog, but I don't insist that I'm right. I'm always trying to figure stuff out, and part of that involves admitting that I am almost always wrong in important ways. If you are up for it, please help me out by steering my thoughts in new and interesting directions. I always appreciate the challenge of learning what other people think.
This entry was posted in Art, Arts education, Ceramics, Clay, Creativity, Imagination, metacognition, Pottery, Teaching. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Clean living, I suppose…..

  1. Scott Cooper says:

    Yeah! You and Ben were both great. And I think you’re exactly right: he’s making a really great historical document of potters today, one that will just gain value over time. Imagine if podcasts had been around during the heyday of Hamada, Voulkos, Cardew, etc!

    Also, I like this photo of you in your native habitat.

    And Overkill Gillies Rambling would be a sweet name for *your* podcast. Never say never!

  2. Yeah, shy guy. I think the “shy guy” thing is a hoax! you said the same thing when i wanted you to be a guest blogger so many years ago.

    Well, I’m about to release my very own podcast and i expect to hear your own foray into the “audio information age” shortly. You have a fantastic radio voice and have so much to say.


    BTW i have listened twice and imagine i will listen again. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Maybe see you soon. Surprise trip to Athens with Stacey (sans kids) in a few. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • I can’t wait for your podcast! Being situated in NC where you are puts you in the central hub for traveling potters as well as home base for a huge selection of really interesting artists. I can see you nipping on over to Penland every week and dropping a microphone in front of some luminary. The idea has me salivating already!

      Yes! Do visit! And I love surprises! I should be here most of the summer, except a trip to visit my folks probably in early August. If you show up in late July I may have to put a paintbrush in your hands for a few decorative vines as I will probably be slogging away at repainting my house.

  3. John Bauman says:

    I had an art fair and other out-of-town distractions having to do with making a living, so I’m just now listening. It’s a swell interview. The blog discussion is an interesting one.

  4. John Bauman says:

    Three rabbit trails down which my mind burrowed while listening to your conversation:

    1. Iโ€™ve been obsessing over an idea for the past twenty years or so โ€“ that the condition that defines โ€œhumanโ€ is ignorance. We call it other things (especially in religion and philosophy where ignorance is dodged), and we terribly misunderstand it and our place in it.

    2. That craft/art, intuition/knowledge might just be misdirecting (though interesting) false dichotomies. Itโ€™s never either/or.

    3. An interesting mind is almost always going to be exposed by hand work.

    now, where’s that winking emoticon? ;^)

    • Yeah, I like to focus on ignorance too. I just started my new class last night with a discussion of the Einstein quote that “Imagination is more important than knowledge”. I truly think that what we don’t yet know is powerfully important. Its the only motivation for curiosity, and where would we be without that?

      Yeah, those dichotomies serve a purpose but they don’t explain very much. Reality is so much more nuanced than those either/or scenarios, but sometimes shinning a spotlight on something only puts the front in focus while the entire back side is cast in shadows. That’s just the way it works for the human mind: The more clarity we get the less encompassing the truth revealed. Usually…..

      You might even say that ‘hard work’ is the only expression of an interesting mind. Maybe that overstates it, but the truth seems to be that as soon as we shut down, get distracted or fuzzy, or let other people do our thinking for us we become less interesting by the moment. The act of carrying the water, all the hard work and exercise, may actually be the interesting things about us. Some of the time, at least. But its not just the work itself always but what the work brings us to. I’ve been known to work extremely hard at flogging a dead horse or two, and I’m just about positive that no one really finds it all that interesting…… The price of turning the engine on and watching it ramble over the countryside without the breaks or much use of the steering wheel, I suppose…… ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. It was a fabulous interview and you are a fabulous thinker. Thank you.

    • Thanks so much for saying that, Judi…. I am so humbled by the response this has been getting. Thank YOU for being a vital part of this wonderful clay community ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Joseph says:

    It was an amazing interview, and was good to hear your voice. I wish I had listened to it with pen and paper in hand to make notes but I listened to it yesterday in my studio, when I was making for the first time in almost month. Though I worked on some older ideas once I finished and no longer thinking about work and trying to make connections from what I heard in your interview and Ron Meyers interview, I had a spark of inspiration for something completely new.

    It is a project that is going to take some working, with plenty of R&D, but I really do need to give myself permission to work on something that isn’t necessarily functional. I still plan on making functional pottery I just don’t have a clear idea what I want to make every time I make something I change my mind.

    • Thanks Joseph!

      It sounds like you are onto something. That permission part can sometimes be the most inhibiting thing we face. Glad you are jumping in! Good luck! And have some fun with it too!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.