Welcome to my little corner of the web. My name is Craig Bird and I have been making handmade pottery since 1990. I have been fortunate to have studied with three Bernard Leach students (Wm. Henry Klock, Warren MacKenzie and Jeff Oestriech), numerous American potters, as well as Japanese master potter; Kohyama Yasuhisa. I have studied pots all over the US and abroad and consider myself a traditionalist at heart and a functional potter by choice. I am heavily influenced by potters such as Kawai Kanjiro and Michael Cardew, as well as Japanese pottery, English slipware, ancient pottery and Saturday morning cartoons.
My pottery springs from the concept of function and utility. It is further guided by a need to be narrative and tell a story.
I am a product of television, mostly cartoons and so began my fascination with form. I was raised by a television and I marveled at the images and would try to imagine them in my mind’s eye, creating a three dimensional form from the 2-D. Clay allows me to create a 3-D object from those old images locked away from television, books and drawings. I am able to work out the problems of three dimensions in not only the form, but the surface as well, through a series of multiples of an idea moving further toward an ideal. Through my experiences and encounters I have added numerous ideals and paragons to my vocabulary. Unified concepts and images go in and are vigorously blended coming out in new and intriguing ways.
I can see the influences of numerous works in each pot, but I work to keep from making copies of previous pottery works. My preferences for Japanese, Old English, Persian, Greek and Chinese pottery acts as stepping stones for my own vocabulary of form and surface and hopefully I have found my own voice. For me, the greatest challenge is to step out from the shadow cast by the two most important influences of my life, the work and thoughts of Kawai Kanjiro and Michael Cardew. By studying the past masters and masterpieces, I rely on the concept ONKO-CHISHIN (look at the old to learn the new) but have adapted it to my feelings about pottery; Look to the past to make pots in the moment as a foundation for the future.
Having sought out functional potters to study with, students of Bernard Leach and Japanese potters steeped in ancient tradition; my strongest focus in making pottery is the purpose and accommodation of the pot.
As long as I continue to make pottery, these are the goals that I will aspire too and the vocabulary I will constantly consider.