For whatever reason, it was the potter who most intrigued me and with little reason other than my own gut, I decided that I wanted to become a potter, but first, I needed to learn how to make pottery. This was, looking back, very astute for a fourteen year old boy. With no art department at my school, I turned to my community and to a local potter, Peter Wendland. To be honest, it was my father who made the initial call to Peter to ask if he would meet with me after school some day.
In addition to serving as the director of the Vermont Arts and Crafts Service, he lived in my town and was a potter. After our meeting that went very well, I started working with him after school and on the weekends to learn how to mix clay, throw pots, glaze and fire. Peter was an inspiring guy to work with. He could build anything, knew how to use every tool imaginable, was very creative and ingenious. He always had a variety of projects going at the same time and somehow managed to find success with all of them. It was at his house that I ate my first piece of homemade, whole grain bread, tried a variety of very different cheeses, sampled fresh vegetables from his garden and learned about drinking tea from a bowl. His pottery was used at every meal.
He introduced me to other people involved in crafts and especially pottery. Most importantly, I learned about being resourceful, which led to me making my first potter’s wheel from the front axle and rim of a car.