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Marty Pearson

Gathering and using local materials is a very important part of my pottery and tiles. The local clay I dig is from an area where five or six hundred years ago Native Americans used clay to make their cooking and storage pots. To become more involved with the firing process of my stoneware, I fire the kiln with slabs of wood from the local sawmill. Reducing my raku pots in wild rice hulls connects my pieces with a history of the north woods.

Living in the woods most of my life, I have always felt some bond with the trees, animals, and sounds around me. This bond has given me an interest in other cultures whose existence centered on certain animals and plants. The ancient petroglyphs and pictographs from northern Sweden, Minnesota, Canada, and the stirrup pots from Peru have been some of those interests.

From these interests I have developed my own symbols, some are people and animals, and others are abstract designs. The pots and the symbols that are drawn in the clay are my diaries. They tell stories, dreams, poems, sounds, and activities that have been important to me the day or week I am working with clay.

Pots are thrown on the wheel, made from coils and slabs, or they can be a combination of all three. Some of my large coil pots can be 36 inches tall. The line drawings in the clay are inlaid porcelain. My tile wall pieces are suitable for interior and exterior display. Most of my glazes are made from wood ashes and some have a local slip in them.

Using local materials is an important part of my work. Just as important are the stories that bring these pots and tiles to life. In the clay are the songs of birds, the dreams of rivers, and the story of our relationship to the earth.