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Don Nutter-Watkins

To some, art comes naturally.  To others it is completely unattainable.  For me, and many others, it comes by perseverance.  I am by all accounts not a natural artist.  2 dimensional art I can do but it feels like work.  I must say, I do love clay.  My process has grown from that beginning in my youth.  As early as 6th grade, I fell in love with what can be done via clay.  Art class was like torture for an A.D.D. kid like me.  I had no patience to sit and draw something.  But clay!  Now there was something almost instant, that I took to with earnest right through high school.  Eventually life separated me from this passion until I returned to college to finish a degree long gone stale.  I took a ceramics class, and the passion welled back up inside me.  First it became a hobby, then a craft, then a small side business and in 2 years it snowballed into my full time job.  I started school to obtain a math teaching degree, and ended up with a BA in studio arts.

I started as a humble craftsman making simple utilitarian wares.  Then, one day, the unthinkable happened.  I saw the most amazing thing I had seen in my whole life.  This guy had pots with crystals grown all over them.  I was taken in complete awe.  For the next year and a half my new mistress, crystalline glaze, consumed all my free time (and money).  I simply had to do this.  1 fried kiln, countless schlock in my waste pile, and what remained of my hair, lost later, I eventually got proficient at it.   Now I am one of a few (I estimate around 200) in the world that creates this on a regular basis.

Crystalline glazing is a process whereby crystals are literally grown right in the glaze during the firing process.  This requires specialized equipment, higher temperatures, special materials, a dash of chemistry knowledge, patience without limit, and a good deal of persistence too.  This is the primary reason there are so few of us that mess with this.  It is, however, the most amazing glaze technique I can find available.

As an artist, I follow a Chinese philosophy.  In Chinese art, works must reference the past works to be considered relevant.  Chinese porcelain works are highly refined, conform to a mathematical balance of symmetry, and are as much a piece of art as a painting.  In my opinion, and that of 15th through 18th century Europeans, it is the pinnacle of ceramic art.  In reverence to that tradition, I try to maintain the suggestion of form in Ming and Qin Dynasty works.  On the other hand, I want to add a contemporary feel to my work, thus, a merger with crystalline glazes.  This is something I call Contemporary Classicalism.  My desire is to create a piece that will be as comfortable in the most modern of décor and also at home in a very classic, elegant space.