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 Tony Vanchu 

I first became interested in ceramics as a teenager, beginning is the 1970s, during frequent visits to family in North Carolina.  There I was introduced to the work of potters and potteries from the Seagrove area such as Sid Luck, Ben Owen, Dover, and Jugtown.  Though I quickly became an enthusiastic collector, it was not until some 35 years later that I worked up the courage to attempt to create in this medium.


Form, finish, and function are what interest me most in working with clay.  Inspiration may arise from just one or a combination of these categories.  My work is primarily hand-built and tends towards organic forms and surface treatments.  One of my favorite activities as a potter is carving into the clay surface, usually after the application of a slip or underglaze.


I am fortunate to have access to a wide variety of firing techniques and continually look for new ways to integrate the unique characteristics of each into my work.  The techniques I have explored include:  Δ10 salt, Δ10 reduction, salt fuming, low-fire, raku, and, most recently, obvara, which involves the immersion of heated pieces into a fermented mixture of flour, water, and yeast.  Additionally, it is not uncommon for me to fire a piece multiple times and with different techniques in my quest to bring each piece to a state with which I am satisfied.


I am most grateful for the generosity of the community of accomplished ceramicists who so willingly share ideas, constructive criticism, techniques, and glaze recipes with the rest of us.  The opportunity to channel my creative impulses and instincts into this process of exploration in clay reminds me how very fortunate I am to have stepped up to the clay and decided, finally, “to get dirty.”



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