My Journey

I'll never forget my high school ceramics instructor, Mr. Calderhead. He had a laid back teaching style and an outward hippy appearance that made his class an easy one to have fun in. He gave me my first taste on the potters' wheel. As I look back on it, I realize his was the only class I came in early for and I was always the last to leave it.

While I was a junior in high school I read a book by Herbert Sanders called "Glazes for Special Effects". His chapter on the subject of Crystalline Glazes left me thinking about that process for nearly 35 years. Herbert Sanders graduated from Ohio State University and was the first person in the United States to receive a PHD in ceramics. He was a true innovator,and at the time, on the cutting edge of this art form. I loved and was struck by the look of crystalline, but at the age of 16 I had neither the patience or financial resources required to learn the complex technique.

I continued throwing pots in college, but I wasn't willing to become a struggling artist. My career path led me to the field of entertainment. I became an accomplished sound mixer and video engineer for a variety of television shows and commercials. I chased my career and ambitiously worked hard at it for over 20 years, eventually losing touch with the potter I once was.

While on location in Colorado shooting a Sonic commercial, a friend and local crew member invited me over to his house after work. He mentioned he had a potters wheel in his basement and I told him of my potting past. I wound up giving his wheel a spin and before I knew it, I was completely hooked. It was clear I needed to have pottery back in my life.

I was now ready to invest in the time and expense necessary to satisfy my passion.

I started out potting at the local art center near my home in California. I found myself spending most of my spare time there. I was completely flattered when the Special Events Director accepted my new work into the Irvine Fine Art Center Exhibition. I was further amazed when, to my surprise, the poster designed to advertise the exhibit featured one of my porcelain pots.

I soon decided I wanted to spend even more time exploring my craft. The dream that had started when I was in high school to create crystalline pottery was still very strong inside me. I built my own small studio at my home and I began seriously creating in earnest with every spare minute I had.

As a friendly gesture, I gave a set designer friend one of my vases. The next day I showed up for work at the old Charlie Chaplin stage in Hollywood to shoot a commercial. To my surprise, the vase I had given my friend was now being used as a featured background element on the set! I was then asked to bring in more pots to be used in the sets of the up and coming locations for the same commercial product. My pottery can now be seen in the background sets of the Sheer Cover Cosmetics spots starring Leesa Gibbons.

I feel fortunate to have a craft that is so satisfying to me. My passion for creating fine crystalline pottery is fueled by the positive and happy reactions I get from the people who come across my work and love what they see, enabling me to share my dream and my vision.

Russell White