Cremation urns became important to me after my mother’s passing in 1986. From that moment on, I wanted to make urns that would express the richness of a life, that would give comfort and solace to those who mourn.
The commercial urns I saw seemed cold and generic. How different from ancient times, when burial vessels were full of dignity, deep reverence, and love of nature.
The mystery of life has been an enduring theme in my work. It gives me great pleasure to make a vessel that will be treasured by those who remember a beloved person.
I have been making ceramics for most of my life, and it has been a fascinating journey, both spiritual and geographic. Everywhere one travels, it’s extremely interesting to meet the potters. Often you will find them working in much the same way their ancestors did centuries ago. Those old traditions can inspire us profoundly.
My career in ceramics began unconsciously, as a child playing with mud in the Oregon countryside. Mud was something we had plenty of. Later on, as a college student at Portland State University, one day while walking though the art department I passed a room that had that moist-earth-after-rain, damp-basement smell—what could be in there? I peeked in; it was a pottery studio, the first I’d ever seen. Soon I found myself making friends with the students and the teacher who were creating such interesting things out of clay. I got thoroughly hooked after watching a friend throw an enormous bowl on the potters’ wheel. Since then, clay has never been far away.
I’ve had a long career making and teaching ceramics. I have been teaching in the Art Department of City College of San Francisco since 1975.