Ron Philbeck had been drawing for years but it was a huge leap for him to actually put an image on a pot. A few hundred pieces later, Philbeck now has a blast coming up with new characters and patterns. Wheel turned out of red earthware and coated in a creamy white slip, his pots are decorated by scratching through the slip in a process similar to sgrafitto. His laundry and animal lines are fun and lovable. Charming pots from a great potter.
No Longer Available
Ron Philbeck at MudFire
Ron Philbeck Artist Bio
I started making pots in 1992 after returning home from college. I had studied mathematics but my heart had always been in the arts. I had done some painting and was very interested in sculpture but could never quite find my subject matter.
A friend talked me into taking some clay classes at the local community college and before long I was hooked. It was about a year later when I read an article by Minnesota potter Warren MacKenzie and fell in love with the idea of producing functional pots for everyday use in people's home. Finally, I had found a medium where I could express my creativity and at the same time serve a purpose, that of preparing and serving food. Over the following years I sought out potters whose work I liked and who came from a functional background.
Through workshops and classes and much time spent at the wheel I began my training as a potter. In 1996 I set up my kiln and workshop and established myself in Cleveland County.
When I stop to think about it, it's pretty amazing that I am doing what I love to do. I never thought I would have a "job" that is so satisfying. Being a functional potter is challenging in that I have to work within certain limitations. After all, the pots must work well and stand up to everyday use. Also, I'd like them to be pleasing visually and invite the user to hold and touch them. I feel the pottery is a communication between the potter and the person using the pot.
In early 2008 I began working in earthenware with the idea that I would explore decoration on the pots by drawing on them. I have drawn since I was a child, my mother and I used to doodle on scraps of paper and she was always drawing our farmhouse and it's surroundings. I started exploring drawing more seriously on paper in 2006. After about a year and a half I gave myself permission to draw on my pots. It's the most fun I've had making pots in years!
The ideas are never ending; all I have to do is be open when I sit down to kick my wheel and the clay will teach me. My desire is to make pots that have character and integrity that are as delightful to use as they are for me to make.
Ron Philbeck Artist Statement
I make pottery from red earthenware clay that is thrown on the potter's wheel in a relaxed, casual manner. I enjoy creating pots that folks will use in the kitchen and home. After the pots are made they are coated in a white clay slip which is later drawn into with a sharp tool. The drawings originate in my daily journals and sketchbooks before making their way onto the pots. I enjoy the fact that these pots and drawings are an extension of who I am. They are fun and quirky, sometimes shaky and unsure and other times bold and confident. My hope is that the user will enjoy both the form of the pot as well as the images.