Millennia Antica Pottery


2003-08-10 -12:00 -0700

Millennia Antica Pottery can be found at many local events,
Vicki Hamilton is scheduled to lead these classes and workshops,
and there is a guide to everything available on the Millennia Antica site.

I have been making pots for many years and have trained with some extraordinary potters -- Warren MacKenzie, Karen Karnes, Rose Lee, Jim Gremel and Graham Stevens, to name a few.  I successfully built my reputation as an artist through shows and gallery openings in Northern California until 1989.  The patrons who collect my work have brought it to Japan, New Zealand, Australia and many areas of the United States.  After a 12-year hiatus and coming to Seattle, I began my work newly in 2000.

My work, particularly the surface decoration, is inspired by the colors and textures found in nature (with my love of Japanese and Italian ceramics as a contributing factor).  I am passionate about, challenged and delighted by, and fulfilled in my work.  Each piece is unique.

I am the resident Artist at Earthworks in West Seattle, and have the pleasure of working with the owner of Earthworks, Paul Supplee.

When I first took ceramics and pottery classes many years ago, our instructor took the class to the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco.  I was hooked -- I fell in love with Japanese pottery, particularly the folk pottery that was produced in Mashiko.  I learned about Shoji Hamada and Bernard Leach, and tried to ascertain what was behind this particular kind of expression -- pristine simplicity and poetic at the same time.  I learned everything I could about what actually went into the production of a piece of pottery, and I said I would go to Mashiko.  And 30 years later, I did.

In April 2002 I had the pleasure of accompanying my husband, Dennis, to Japan.  One of the things we did there was to visit Mashiko.  Shoji Hamada lived and worked there for many years -- his home, workspace, kilns and reference collection museum are still there.  Visiting there was an extraordinary, and blurry experience -- I was in tears a good part of the time.  Inspiring is, I think, the word I am looking for.

In the middle of Mashiko, on April 20, 2002, I was returned to what it was that had me be a potter in the beginning -- working with all 4 elements (air, earth, fire, water) to create an expression closely tied to the earth and at the same time, brimming with life.

In 1983, I participated in a workshop with Warren MacKenzie at Big Creek Pottery in Davenport, California, near Santa Cruz.  His work is heavily influenced by Hamada and Leach.  During this workshop, I made a lidded jar -- my "loosen up" project.  It was the first one, reminiscent of a Japanese lantern.  I still have that jar -- Warren coached me through it.  And Warren MacKenzie has been my mentor since that time.

At present, I am producing some collaborative work with Leonardo Lanzolla, an extraordinary Italian painter.  I create the ceramic forms and Leonardo paints them with underglazes, many times etching and carving them so that his exciting designs appear on the clay surface through the underglazes.  The work is powerful, passionate and profound.

-- Vicki Hamilton
14 March 2003

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