The Life & Thoughts of a Potter
Introduction to the Golden Hollow Pottery.
Tad Crisp began
making pots in high school craft class back in 1969-70. He
continued his love of clay through college where it lured him
away from intended majors in biology and anthropology to fine
art. In 1977 he graduated from Corpus Christi State University
(now Texas A&M of Corpus Christi, Texas) as a Bachelor of Fine
Arts, with an emphasis (almost 30 semester hours) in
Ceramics/Pottery. Immediately following his graduation (in
December of 1977) he joined the US Navy. In the Navy, pottery
just was not a possibility, so he diverted his creative
attentions toward developing graphic design, illustration and
calligraphy skills. There is no direct route to becoming a Navy
Artist (Illustrator/Draftsman), but after spending 6 years in
the Navy (five of them at sea), he was able to become an
Illustrator/Draftsman, and served four years in that vocation.
Upon receiving his honorable discharge from the Navy in 1988, he
went to work in the graphic design field where he has worked
for the last 19 years. After being away from his love of clay
for 25 years he is settling into his beautiful Tennessee
backwoods, and building a pottery studio. It has not been just
like getting back on the proverbial bicycle, but, he is back in
the swing of things and hopes to make pottery a major part of
his productive life from this point forward.
Process, Nature, and Aesthetics of Pottery
most art forms produced today, defies the urgent nature of our
society. Clay requires time to form, time to dry, and must be
worked at key times during this drying process. There are things
that may be done to speed up some of these processes, but from
start to finish the average pot takes two to three weeks from
start to firing (and much longer for larger pieces). This allows
numerous reflections on both design and purpose as the piece
matures toward completion.
porcelain pottery is very functional. It is dishwasher safe,
microwave safe (though the high iron clay bodies may heat up a
bit), oven safe and in some cultures is even used on top of the
stove (though this is not recommended). The purpose of art
pottery is to bring truth and beauty to everyday life. Art has
not always been sophisticated and separated from life, detached
for a special appreciation. In the beginning, art was merely an
aesthetic treatment of things used in everyday life. Art ought
to have both a physical and a spiritual or “soulish” component.
It should transcend ordinary and cause the user to experience
and contemplate beauty in creation as it is used. A
well-designed and well-made teapot, for example, is not merely
a vessel for dispensing steeped beverages. Instead, while it is
fully capable of dispensing these beverages, it is also capable
of drawing the user into an aesthetic experience, and enhancing
the joy of simply having tea. Pottery is “touchable art.” It is
something that rewards the participant for making time in
his/her day to spend with it. It is Tad’s hope that the Golden
Hollow Pottery may contribute to the experience of beauty in
your life as it is lived in our increasingly chaotic and
this Modern Day, Why Pottery?
Pottery is as old
as civilization itself. In Genesis 2:7, the Scriptures say that
the Lord God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and
breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and he became a
living being. So, according to the Scriptures, God made us out
of the dust of the earth, and we have been trying make stuff out
of the same stuff ever since. Clay is simply dirt. It is made up
primarily of Alumina and Silica, along with a number of other
minerals that contribute to color and density. The art of
ceramics is really just making art out of the dust of the
ground. There are three basic distinctions in pottery and
ceramics: Clay fired at a lower temperature, remaining porous
and a little more fragile is called Earthenware. Clay fired at
higher temperatures and becoming solid or vitrified is called
Stoneware. The third classification is Porcelain, which is the
purest of clay and usually fired at very high temperatures.
Porcelain, although used to make some of the most ornate and
decorative pieces of pottery, is also used to make toilets,
electric and electronic components and even some tools.
At Golden Hollow
Pottery, stoneware and porcelain are the primary clays used.
Stoneware is very nice, earthy and very hard. Not only is
working with stoneware gratifying, but the hardness and look of
the final product is very enjoyable. Porcelain is smooth,
almost glassy and pure white, and the finished surface can
almost seem like a shimmering liquid under the glaze.
All ceramics must
be fired to change them from clay to ceramic. The temperatures
range from about 1,100 degrees f. for earthenware to almost
2,400 degrees f. for stoneware and porcelain.
Take Your Time, It’s Worth It!
terribly incompatible with our modern “instant gratification”
culture. Finished pottery, of course can be bought instantly
from outlets and studio stores, which caters to this, however,
from start to finish, it can take months. Wet clay is formed
into pots and allowed to dry for a couple of weeks, then it is
fired once in what is called a bisque firing. Once the clay has
been changed from clay to ceramic, it is no longer fragile and
cannot be dissolved or recycled back into the bucket and used
again. At this point it is glazed and fired again. This can take
a week (or however long it takes to fill the kiln). So, for
instance, if you want to order a coffee cup, it can take at
least three weeks until you see it, more than likely a month.
For special date sensitive orders, it is a good idea to order
pieces at least 6 weeks in advance and be sure to specify the
target date in your order.
Just Like Christmas
Nothing in life is
guaranteed. Almost everyone in our western culture has memories
of sitting around a tree on Christmas morning and opening
beautifully wrapped packages — excitingly waiting to see what is
inside. At the same time that there was great exhilaration and
excitement at the prospect of getting something really
wonderful, there was a little anxiety that it might be a garish
sweater or another tie... In similar fashion, pottery is not
guaranteed. No matter how beautiful a form is, when it goes into
the kiln, there is no surety that it will survive the firing. If
it survives the firing, there is certainly no guarantee that the
glazes and oxides that worked so well last time will also
produce beautiful pieces this time. Each kiln load is just like
that Christmas package... “Is it a beautiful ____!“ Or, “oh
great, another tie!”
pottery is the only true way to collaborate on the pieces which
will complement your life and lifestyle (or that of the ones for
whom you are buying gifts). Most of the pieces that are created
at Golden Hollow Pottery are the expression of what the potter
feels are the things that will edify and enhance your life. With
your help, however, a near perfect match may often be made.
Special orders are encouraged. Contact the Golden Hollow
Pottery at 615-633-6372 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You Have Good Ideas?
There are a wide
range of items which can be made from clay. There are so many,
in fact, that a potter can do research for hours, not to find
other potter’s styles, but just to determine what they are
making and attempting to determine whether it will fit in our
local markets and lifestyles. Pottery can be effectively used
for food and drink preparation: mixing, baking, serving and all
other aspects of dining. It is also a compliment to serving
beverages (coffee, tea, juice, beers, wine and liquor). Not
long ago in our history, just about anything one used in life
was handmade from clay, wood, leather or metal. We have become
so advanced in our society that we have gotten away from some
of these simpler handmade forms. In this artist’s opinion, man
was not created for a one-size-fits-all life. This may be
efficient, but leads to a sterile and cheerless existence. As
you reach out to enjoy life, it is this potter’s hope that this
experience will be enhanced by the Golden Hollow Pottery.
You may contact
Tad at 615-633-6372 (Hartsville). You
may also place special orders at any gallery where you have seen
Tad’s work displayed.