on the right is a blue slip glaze over an iron red. On the dark stoneware clay, it turns out very natural and yet has a bit of color.
I’m Doug Harris and my story is simple. I took an elective ceramics “throwing on the wheel class” in college and I was hooked. It wasn’t supposed to work out that way. It was supposed to be an easy elective I could take because I didn’t have the brains to pass physics, chemistry and calculus all at the same time. I figured even I could pass a beginners wheel class. As it tuned out my ceramics teacher was a bit more serious about pottery than I was. The class was hard – and it had homework too … much to my dismay. I loved that teacher and I’ll never ever forget what he taught me. He taught me a lot more than how to throw a pot that’s for sure: And I’m forever grateful to him and what joy pottery has brought to me all these years.
Although I took ceramics and art classes in every year at college, I graduated with a degree in Business and then spent 30 years in the professional world where I was plugged into the matrix … I think it was located somewhere in middle earth.
I make fun of it now, but being an operations manager in the industrial automation field and then onto many years building houses led to a necessary training phase of life. I leaned A LOT. It let’s you realize exactly how things are made and in turn lends insight into knowing how things are marketed to the public. It helps run the business end of a studio and I’m glad I already had that part of the business under wing.
So I’m glad to be a humble potter now. I’m glad I make a healthy product and if it ends up in the ocean, it may become a house for an octopus or something. Then it gets ground back into what it came from.
Here at Farmridge we use the best stoneware clay available. Some of it I mix myself (a modified classic recipe of Jeff Zamek’s) and I also use some Standard Ceramics Baldwin #192 and a brown clay body #378. All the pottery is food safe and microwave and dishwasher safe. I fire in oxidation between cone 7 and 10 and the ware is fully vitrified after firing. Almost all of the pots I throw can be used in an oven, and in the case of the casseroles, they work great. Some people use my sugar bowls as garlic roasters and they do excellent in the oven. From a style standpoint, I don’t like to get too fussy with a pot and the most beautiful pieces are the ones with their own life and character. I do a lot of glaze testing and each piece is unique. So my work is kind of all over the board. In the future I may start to do some more matching sets and some “sameness pieces”. I do a few now, but most of my days start with a blank slate and inspiration.
I tend to break the rules where I can. The formal ceramics education was completely needed, and I use it constantly; but I tend to like the pottery somewhat spontaneous and free to do it’s own thing.