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updated tue 23 jan 01


Jennifer Rhinesmith on thu 12 dec 96

Dustin, I was never looking to be a potter, I took a class to help raise
my GPA. I got to the class that first night and kept thinking what in the
world is a biology major doing sitting here with a bunch of art people.
Something strange happened in those next couple of weeks, I fell in love
with clay. I don't think this would have happened if I did not have the
teacher that I do. He takes the time to listen to you and to help you
through those first real fustrations. His work is the most beautiful
things that I have ever seen. He does double wall bowls, they are
wonderful. I want so much to be as good as him. With his help and
confidence I know that I one day will be. He has proven to be a
wonderful inspiration and influence to me. He never lets it show when I
fustrate him, and I'm sure that I do. I am going on my second year in
clay, and plan to never give it up, thanks to him.

Dave and Pat Eitel on mon 16 dec 96

This question came up on the list a year ago or so, and I replied with a
statement about how Warren MacKenzie influenced me. Briefly, the gist was
his pots, his attitude toward clay, his attitude toward people are all
things I greatly admire. He is past retirement age, has been potting for
decades, and I find his work as fresh today as ever.

Upon further reflection, here are a few more thoughts. When I used to
throw pots publicly in my store/gallery in Cedarburg, one of the FAQs was
"Where do you get your ideas?" Initially, I was tempted to reply "Good
Housekeeping"--and in fact I did a couple of times and found myself having
to explain I was only joking.

When I really thought about the question, I realized that most of the ideas
I have for pot forms come not from pictures or pots, but from an
accumulated concept of what pots are, whch has been taking shape in my
conscious or subconscious mind for about 53 years. Mostly I will "see" a
pot fully formed in my mind. If I can, I'll make a sketch to record it or
just go make it. My thinking is that these forms just pop out of that
accumulated thinking about what makes good pots.

Another influence is my personal philosophy--and being totally involved as
a potter fits very well with that.


Dave Eitel
Cedar Creek Pottery
Cedarburg, WI

Tadeusz Westawic on fri 20 dec 96

Form: Our bodies, but especially my wife's body. I am partnered to a
plump Renoir beauty. She says her body is "built for hauling water
uphill and dropping babies on the way". Well, that may be so, she's got
a right like a truck driver, I'll tell you. But sitting in the evening
she tucks her feet up - I can admire at length the curve that starts at
her hip and outlines a buttock, continues along the back of her thigh
and ends behind her knee. In the gallery I watch men and women stroke
the pots derived from that form and I feel I've learned some subliminal
truth about humanity. Also, the form of anybody's shoulders, breasts,

"It is curiously in his wrist" - Walt Whitman

After that, there is my life experience. I like to look for a
rudimentary theme in absentmindedly thrown pots - "quiet dignity" for
example. Then I'll try to distill the theme through series of eight to
twelve pots at a time, culling the ones moving away from the theme and
saving the one or two that work as models for the next series. The war
remains a great influence on my work. I have a "bomb" form that I return
to from time to time (it doesn't look much like a bomb, it has no fins
eg). When stacked in a pyramid form in a display, they have the quality
of "quiet menace".

Surface: Almost all of the abstract impressionists but especially Kline,
Motherwell and Pollock. Bold and balanced composition. If my pot doesn't
receive a uniform glazing then it gets treated with an abstract
composition (I can't draw worth a damn). There is something I've learned
here that I'll share - If the form is quiet, balanced and yet assertive,
you can put the most wildly energetic surfaces on them without losing
balance. I think the eye keeps going from the energy of the abstract
surface to the quietude of the form and thus the brain still reads
"balanced". Kline for boldness and application, Motherwell for
composition and Pollock for application. Kline's work looks like he used
brushes meant for painting houses, and Pollock didn't own any brushes

Firing: I raku almost exclusively. Sometimes I'm careful and sometimes
I'm a maniac. I haven't figured this out yet. I don't know where it
comes from or what its influences are.


Oooladies@AOL.COM on mon 15 may 00

hmmm there are soooo many, and they change sooo often, but there is one basic
thread to all that influences me, LIFE
my work tends to narrate the good, the bad, and yes the ugly, and always
reminds me to keep a sense of humor.

marie gibbons

Phyliss Ward on mon 15 may 00

O.K. I'll give it a go...

Joni Mitchell, singer, songwriter, musician, poet, painter, storyteller

My sister, Roberta, who has extraordinary taste

My husband, Bob, who taught me generosity

Bali, Indonesia, where there is no separate word for Art and Artist as
each person believes they are intended to create beautiful things...and
do they!

Clayart discussion list, where this budding clay artist has learned so
much and been so inspired : - )


Katie Cordrey on mon 15 may 00


Per your request, I'm posting my off-list response to the list.


Actually, the fact that you can condense 45 years of influences and
travel to list with fewer than half that many items is a feat not to be

In looking at your list, Jung's theory of collective consciousness
fronts and centers for me, the idea that there is an understanding of what
it is to be human in all of us, that we express this knowledge in
certain patterns and symbols that cross cultures and language and
experience. Your list seems to contain a lot of these elements, even Dr. Seuss
with his sing-song rhyme and elephants which strangely, have some
significance even to those who've never seen one. The mathmatical repetition
of Celtic designs, Moorish architecture, fractals, quilt squares,
mandalas, sychonized swimming, et al, IS the expression of nature, detected
as patterns. It's finding those patterns that so satisfies us humans.
Maybe other animals don't do math!

Though this has little to do with your post, thought I'd throw my two
cents' in anyway.

My influences?

Seed pods

Rock cliffs

Edgar Allen Poe


Drumming (Japanese & African)

Irish music

Islamic thought

The moment

My childhood fantasies


I'm sure there is much more, but this is what's on top.

It will be interesting to read posts to clayart...


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Diane G. Echlin on mon 15 may 00

Some wonderful lists so far!
Here are some of mine: (although they are more likely inspirations...)
my daughter's laugh
my high school art teacher
Hans Coper
Lana Wilson
Jeff Oestereich
music that makes my heart pound
children's artwork (so uninhibited!)


sandylacross@NETHAWK.COM on mon 15 may 00

Hey clayarters,
Thought I would ride this wave. My influences include Tom Waits, Doug
Jeck, Joel peter witkin, Odd Nerdrum, and Lucian Freud.


Joyce Lee on mon 15 may 00

New ones are added often even if their duration is brief.

Vanessa ... taught me compassion and to admire courage and to forgive.

Librarian, Miss Jenkins ... small town in mts of Ky who guided me from 3
to 6 to read every book in children's section, even ChildCraft
encyclopedias. Won a prize. Not good influence, in this case. Took me
years to discover that "doing" just for public recognition is not the
way to go...... that intrinsic is more valuable and more lasting.

Flood in Louisville at 3 which left me with sense of excitement when we
climbed from our 3rd floor apt into a waiting motorboat ... natural
disasters, and nature's masters, have irrationally appealed forever

Reciting MaryMaryQuiteContrary in lst grade play ... been hamming it up
ever since.... thought I was the star.....I wasn't.

One strong mama ... Luce ... who kept me on straight and narrow with a
rather loose leash ....

One handsome, charming, gambling daddy who checked my teeth and nails
daily, and made me believe that I was pretty and smart .....

Riding the L&N railroad alone often from ages 7 to 10 (on a pass) during
2nd WorldWar (about which I knew zip) and discovering that young
soldiers (and thus, most men) were nice, sweet and funny. (I said the
leash was loose. Couldn't allow that today, of course. Sad.) Probably
fostered my love for travel and oddly combined groups of people headed
for same destination.

Gets more cerebral later, but not very. I've always been more interested
in the details than in the big picture.

In the Mojave with the Bailey extruder together. Instructions were only
fair. Peter Cowen's oversized photos, snailed earlier, of his Florida
studio setup, with Bailey included, were invaluable. Peter even numbered
and cataloged his pics! His studio is incredibly organized.Preparing
clay today.... must be wetter than I'd normally use for throwing.

Kelley Webb Randel on tue 16 may 00

rocks; the colors and textures and shapes, oh my!
anything Kandinsky wrote, drew or painted
copper wire, roofs, anything oxidized. i love the stuff that shows age.
rust on rebar, sculpture, anything rusty. it's that entropy thing.
the stars
the ocean; as a land locked missourian, i am easily fascinated.
smells; grass, fresh air, clean sheets, mold, dirt, clay
fossils; ( i once made a series of "bug boxes", but
they were actually trilobites)
flowers up close
spiders and bugs
the music of water
t bone walker and muddy waters
john coltrane
bessie smith
nina simone and etta james
i've got lots more!
good luck to you, mel
kelley webb randel

Rebecca Varner on tue 16 may 00

the Bible
the ocean
rainy days
George Ohr's work and sense of humor
Mick Casson
Stephen Hill
Lana Wilson
Val Cushing
Corrie tenBoom
my children
my grandchild
the three stooges
Ruth Heflin
women and men who are not afraid to live life
Norman Rockwell
my mother, for feeding a homeless man who was riding a freight train

Rebecca, in sunny Alabama

africaunusual@MWEB.CO.ZA on tue 16 may 00

This one is interseting! Let me search my heart
1.My high school English teacher who taught me to reach for
2. Living with and loving and being loved and learning from so many
pets over the years.
3. The river running past the small upcountry town where I grew up,
always in my ears waking and sleeping. My friend through the
changing seasons teaching me that even an oddball can make the
National Team.
4.Books,books, books, books BOOKS
5.Esias Bosch whose pots were dreams come true.
6. Michael Cardew's Pioneer Pottery from which I learned to pot by
the seat of my pants and sweat of brow
7. Last but not least our very own new moderator who is one damn
fine teacher and raconteur par exellance.
Toni Martens Durban South Africa

Rod, Marian, and Holly Morris on tue 16 may 00

Fun to think about.

My grandmother's china closet
My high school art teacher
My very first pottery teacher
11 years of the ocean on Guam
Motifs of Pacific Island art
Kathy Montvel-Cohen
The vivid red indigenous clay of Guam
Traditional Majolica
Gnarly roots, muscles, and begonia stems
Wrinkled skin
Carl Jung
Milan Kundera
Karl Blossfeldt's plants
My garden

Marian in Michigan
Doing Clay just for the love of it after 25 years

Joyce Lee on mon 22 jan 01

I've said before that I can't yet begin to chart my influences when it
comes to clay. Probably can't focus on the who/when because I'm still
trying to process my almost daily changing attitudes myself, and clearly
am unable to document them so that others might make sense of a very
personal mishmash. Doesn't mean that the journey isn't incredible ... it
is... and I am in a continual state of awe at the possibilities inherent
in a bit of clay, a few chemicals and a roaring fire. Such a short walk
out to my studio where even I can create magic from time to time. Even
the words "my studio" (which as with many of us is a converted garage
for which I am eternally grateful) make my heart do flipflops. At first
I thought the concept of MY studio was pretentious ... now I revel in

I do know that Clayart, which is only a bunch of claybuds after all, has
changed my thinking about art/pottery/nature (which I already loved)
....... thus enhancing my "golden years" and turning them into all the
colors available to the naked eye .... such joy!

My FIRST influences on Clayart are clear, however. June Perry and Dannon
Rhudy (you know, the one the Mayor said his wife didn't think twice
about his hanging out with because she thought it was two GUYS...
Dan and Rudy.. love that story... true or not).I was always happy that
I'm experienced enough at life to recognize the generosity of spirit and
knowledge that Dannon and June offered me just about every day for a
very long time. Patient they were, loving clay, always still learning
themselves ... AND break-your-heart talented ... they mentored me (and
many others) with personal, direct posts that inspired, encouraged and
kept me from quitting ... because I KNEW I could never do what they do.
Found out I didn't NEED to do what they do..... the point is to do what
I do... just keep trying to do it better.

I've written often about the grand quality of workshops that I, vastly
ignorant but always lucky, just stumbled into, and they certainly
influenced me! ..... Robin Hopper for two weeks, Vince/McDowell for one
full week, Tom Coleman five days, Nils Lou on kilnbuilding (never built
a kiln after the workshop, but I sure understood more about what I was
doing with clay), Jack Troy for a week .... participated in my first
woodfiring and, of course, fell in love with the process. Just missed
Paul Lewing right here in the desert .. always regretted that ... he
does a great workshop. I was learning from the masters and didn't even
know it ... but did recognize that they were each wonderful teachers as
well as accomplished potters. See what I mean about being lucky?

The books? So many. Mackenzie's biography was the first; finally bought
a second copy at almost fifty bucks ... the original was so whiplashed.
The Unknown Craftsman ..... whole new ways of thinking ... not just
about pottery or art, but about life. Re-read parts of it regularly.
And George Ohr..... the most recent..... wish I could have known him.

Many of you have influenced me and you don't even know it. Caused swift,
but permanent, shifts in my perceptions. Vivid is the moment when I
realized that I was beginning to understand what UrUr ... RR ... or Ron
Roy ..... was telling us... and the magnificence of his offerings. Ran
in to tell #1 Support Person who said, "well, sure, you've always loved
chemistry." Didn't know enough to explain that this was MORE than simply
chemistry ... much more... again the glaze chemistry was interwoven with
Ron's perspective on living, working, learning .... and he never once
said so. It was just THERE.

I've only touched on the profound influences you have brought me....
Valice with her whole new (to me) and unique approach to Native
American art or art about Native Americans or whatever it is .... I
don't even know what to call what she does, but it's incredible and has
opened avenues for looking at The Usual with new perceptions. In
addition, this lovely woman took home a couple of my small pots and
wrote later that she looked at them each day and felt inspiration!!!
My Pots!! Valice taught me to look at my own work with a less
hyper-critical eye ... again, without ONCE saying so......


In the Mojave