Welcome from Susan


Welcome from Susan
Panacea Gallery
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My first memory of clay is making an imprint of my open hand in school when I was four years old.  The next time I touched clay was more than 30 years later.  I needed to buy a kiln shelf to use as a baking stone in my oven, and looked in the Boston, Massachusetts directory under Pottery.  The name ‘Mudville’ caught my attention as a great name for a pottery business, so I called them.  They don’t sell pottery equipment, but they do offer classes and a new term was starting about three weeks from then.   I didn’t hesitate to sign up.

I was hooked on clay from the first class.  The responsiveness of the material, the ability to make something usable – even if it wasn’t gorgeous – the first class, the connection that clay has to the past; all these factors contributed to my addiction to clay.  For seven years, pottery was a serious hobby and I went to the studio as often as I could.  I loved my time studying at Mudville, but there was something missing.  I wanted to use copper red glazes, and that meant I had to find a studio that fired in a reduction kiln rather than an electric kiln.

I found a potter in Exeter, New Hampshire who not only fired in reduction but encouraged her students to experiment.  I was introduced to different glazes and materials, and began reading about ceramic history.  For the first time, I helped load and fire a kiln.  I will never forget the first time I looked into the spy hole and saw the flame dancing around the kiln.  My addiction was complete!  Working with that potter and taking workshops opened a new world to me, and I realized the next step was to have my own kiln.

I am now living and working in New Durham, New Hampshire, firing a propane-fueled 18 cubic foot Bailey shuttle kiln.  Every day with clay is exciting, learning more about the materials I love.  My influences are mainly Asian:  traditional Chinese glazes such as copper red and jun (chun), and American versions of traditional Japanese glazes such as shino and oribe.  The pots themselves are fairly traditional shapes.  I am also strongly influenced by a number of potters working in America today – sometimes it’s the use of a particular glaze, sometimes it’s the pots. 

My pots are intended for everyday use.  I love hearing customers say that the bowl they bought is their favorite salsa bowl, or that their tea tastes better when they drink from my tea bowl.  I feel a connection with my pots, and I hope people who buy my pots feel a connection with me as the maker.