ABOUT CARTER

Hi. I’m Carter. Thanks for stopping by!

To tell you a little about myself, I suppose I should start with how I became a potter. I wasn’t always artistic. In fact, I remember two early situations that were clear evidence that I probably was NOT meant to be an artist. So just how did I find pottery? How did I manage to end up leading the life of a self supporting artist? Well, about a year and a half into my coursework for a PhD in Philosophy I was convinced by some friends that I needed a distraction from my studies. I was pointed in the direction of a non-credit pottery night class one of them was teaching, and as they say, the rest is history.

From the first moment my hands touched the clay I knew my life had changed. Of course I had no idea what I was doing, but it seemed incredible that with just a squeeze or a push something was different about the world. And when those squeezes and pushes were done right the world could be a more beautiful place. A better place. This was so different from my work in Philosophy, where after weeks of hard work nothing about the world had changed but my anxiety levels and the gray hairs on my head. Touch clay once and the world is already different. AMAZING…..

So, after an additional year and a half of more agonizing Philosophy I realized my heart was no longer in it. That direction had simply run its course. But I HAD found something else I wanted to do. Pottery! I did my best to keep my hands in clay, and eventually made a good enough impression on one of the instructors that I was invited to pursue graduate level studies in the Ceramics department.

I finished my MFA in 1997. After graduation I eventually moved to supporting myself as an artist. Since the early 2000s I have made a go of it as a full time potter. I also teach evening classes at the local community arts center, and I have discovered that sharing my passion for clay with others is incredibly important to me. I realized that if I have to give up making pots but am able to continue teaching I will still have creative fulfillment. That was an interesting revelation…. Making pots is easy. Teaching is difficult. Compared to being a good potter, being a good teacher is more like brain surgery. But I truly love it and try to continually learn to do it better.

So that’s me.  Maybe not so unusual a story. We all find our paths to the things we love, be it work, partners, friends, a calling, a hobby…. And the world becomes a better place, if only that part of it that has us at its center. And hopefully, if we do a good enough job at it, the world for others becomes a better place as well. Being a good teacher and making beautiful pots is something I believe adds real value to the world and leaves it better off because I care enough to try.

Thanks for reading!

One Response to ABOUT CARTER

  1. Pingback: The blog year that was | CARTER GILLIES POTTERY

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