Friday, November 20, 2015


I consider myself fortunate to have been able to study, work and fire with Kirk Mangus back in the early 90s. Watching him throw and then decorate his larger pots was quite a spectacle; a blend of speed, strength, determination, spontaneity and purpose. I was at Kent State when Kirk created the illustrated covered jar which is a fond memory as much a grand learning experience as it was pottery theater. He started by wedging two large amounts of clay and then centering the first amount of clay and then slamming the second one on top and centering it and the entire mass. Once centered he began the process of opening the clay up and making it rise from the bat, nearly 20" tall  with walls purposefully left thick to accommodate his style of deep relief carving.  After a few days the clay had set up enough and he first addressed the lid to make sure it made a good fit and then with a knife, simply cut away the excess in sharp, crisp facets to reduce the weight, then the carving of the pot began. Taking a moment he walked around the pot surveying the surface, form and obvious steps to the piece and wielding just a couple of tools he set in the raised boundaries that separated the panels before just going at the pot like a focused dervish in a well practiced attack. His cuts were fast and exceedingly direct and I did not see him hesitate even briefly and then the pot was done. Even though I know his menagerie of designs and elements was well practiced it was still quite the experience that I have yet to forget even a moment of.

"Every man's memory is his private literature." Aldous Huxley