On View at ACC: Joel Cherrico
You may remember potter Joel Cherrico from "A Potter's Journey," an eight-part blog series that chronicled his journey from college graduate to full-time potter and owner of Cherrico Pottery. Currently, you can find some of Cherrico's big pots and platters on view at ACC through the end of the year. He'll also be doing pottery-throwing demonstrations at ACC's Holiday Craft Hop on December 2. We asked him to share more about his process, his inspiration, and how he came to craft.
What do you make? What do you want to make?
Making a living as a potter means letting people eat and drink from your gorgeous art, while you respectfully receive currency for your creations. It’s an incredibly fulfilling way to live. During college, I spent years making thousands of ceramic sculptures, still using the pottery wheel as my primary tool. Our small team at Cherrico Pottery has figured out how to grow our company to six figures annually; however, sculptural work seems like the most appropriate route for scaling our business. Sculpture also lets my art evolve naturally, just as it did during my sculptural experiments back in college.
Who and what inspires you?
Abstract expressionist painter Clyfford Still inspires many glaze colors and textures. Author Austin Kleon gave me permission to be honest about the fact that I steal ideas from others, always stealing with love and honor. Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson's ideas about the universe inspire abstract paintings of galaxies on one dark platter on view at ACC. "Inspired by nature" is something I've said about my art for years, but his ideas pushed me to explore how nature can provide inspiration even from objects far from Earth.
How did you first become engaged with craft?
During high school, the book, Body of Clay, Soul of Fire: Richard Bresnahan and the St. John's Pottery was always across from my pottery wheel. That book started me on this pottery journey back in 2005, and the pottery forms on view at ACC are still inspired by Bresnahan's art. A two-day workshop with Don Reitz in 2009 "Potters as Sculptors, Sculptors as Potters" also helped me push the boundaries of what clay does, and how to create powerful, non-functional work and craft as performance.
Describe your dream studio…
Designer Debbie Millman gives her students a writing exercise called "Your 10-Year Plan for a Remarkable Life.” Three pages that I wrote for my plan live in a folder in my backpack carried with me everyday. My plan includes a pottery studio, home, and family on a small plot of land with my girlfriend in St. Joseph, Minnesota. More ambitious details include a solar-fired electric kiln and a Bob Ross style, "Joy of Potting" show watched by millions of people per episode. Instead of bogging you down with details, I’d encourage you to try Millman’s exercise.
What does craft mean to you?
Craft is a fundamental human activity that expresses emotions through making things with your hands.
Library bonus question: What’s your favorite/most-read art or craft book in your personal collection?
A Potter’s Book by Bernard Leach has a wonderful first chapter called, “Towards a Standard,” which is tattooed on the leg I use to kick my pottery wheel. It reminds me to keep kicking out pottery that maintains certain levels of quality, without adhering too strictly. The Complete Guide to High-Fire Glazes: Glazing & Firing at Cone 10 by John Britt give me confidence to glaze and fire any ceramic materials in any kiln.