Heart of the Country Show & Sale

Phyllis Koessler

Working in clay is like playing in the dirt, a childhood love I have carried forward with me all my life. When I first saw a movie in 6th grade about someone transforming a lump of clay into a pot on a potter’s wheel, I was enchanted. I snitched some classroom clay, went home, put aluminum foil on my record player, and attempted to recreate that miracle of creativity. Erratic and episodic as my life in clay has been since the 6th grade, my awe for the act of creativity has stayed constant.

My work is basic, practical and functional, as am I. It is primarily about form and color, less frequently about surface decoration, certainly not about making “dustcatchers” as my mother called them. I like to take an ordinary object and turn it into something extraordinary, fun and useful. Vases and pitchers lend themselves to this drive, so they are an inherent part of my work.

Working in a series allows me to explore an idea or a process. So while some of my pieces are part of a “line,” I much prefer to work until an inner voice says DONE, get on to the next idea! Just as I would not want my children or friends to be too similar, I do not want that for my work. The question, “Did you make all these things?” used to offend me. Now I realize it epitomizes my need for evolution rather than stagnation, exploration rather than repetition, and differences rather than similarities.