In 1982 we moved to a home on a hill (a very steep hill) in Clarksville, Tennessee. After teaching pottery classes for a couple years and going to the two week clay workshop at the Appalachian Center for Crafts I yearned to set up my own studio. We had a walk out basement that was mine to use for clay work (and laundry).
Choosing a potter’s wheel was easy because I knew I wanted a Shimpo wheel and so I bought the best one that I could afford which was a RK-2. Because we moved frequently choosing a kiln was also easy. My choice was a Skutt 818. After telephoning my wheel and kiln order in I waited the three weeks it took to fill the order. Notification came about when my studio equipment would be delivered and I was standing at the end of my driveway when the delivery truck came up my road.
The delivery man and I almost ended up at the bottom of my backyard hill because the crated wheel came out of our hands. We scrambled after the crate as it slid and started to topple downward. I was covered with grass and dirt but had a huge smile on my face because my pottery equipment had arrived.
From the moment my potter’s wheel and kiln were placed inside my “studio” my heart felt lighter. So many possibilities, so many future pots.
That year I made bowls, plates, mugs, pitchers and taught myself to throw platters. My husband was in Korea for one year, my children were teenagers and I worked part-time as a paralegal. All my free hours were spent in my studio making pots. Ceramic Monthly and Studio Potter magazines were read cover to cover the day they arrived in the mail.
This was a year for my own exploration in clay. I did not teach any pottery classes and did not do any craft fairs. I bought clay books and devoured them. 1982 turned into a golden year with new forms, new glazes and the certainty that clay would be my life’s work. During that year I grew to love the smell, touch and possibilities of clay.
Today my trusty Shimpo RK-2 is in my studio. Literally hundreds of students have learned to throw on her. I have a new electric wheel, a treadle wheel and a kickwheel but RK-2 is where I generally end up throwing pots.
My Skutt 818 kiln was used, abused and serviced for years. I thought I outgrew her and sold her to one of my students. The story of how she came back to me is a story for another day.