Wood-fired Tokkuri, Sake Decanter, by John Benn; Harstine Island, WA. Natural Ash Glaze. H. 6.75"(17.25cm) x Dia. 4.25"(11cm.) Shell wadding remains on body.
John Benn studied with F. Carleton Ball and Ken Stevens at the U. of Puget Sound in Tacoma, and with Howard Shapiro and Sandra Simon in the MFA Program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1976, he built his first wood kiln. Now, he and his wife, Colleen Gallagher, make wood-fired pottery among the pristine forests of Harstine Island at the South End of Puget Sound in Washington State. John and Colleen have been professional potters for 27 years and currently fire two wood kilns, a salt kiln and a 25-ft hybrid-anagama kiln, on their property. The pots are formed from locally dug native clay clays, and their kilns are fueled with wood from the surrounding forests; such as fir, alder, madrona, cherry, and maple. Typical firings are three or more days, creating works that are truly a combined result of both man and nature. Wood-firing gives both accidents and blessings, and it is in this imperfection that the beauty of their work is found. Their commitment to wood firing is obsessive and non-intellectual. In John’s word, “We discover our pots in addition to creating them.” Regarding his Chawan, Tea Bowls, John states, “More than the sum of its parts -- line, color, weight, texture -- it is hoped that the Chawan possesses something of the potter who made it. In use it may find life and allow others to feel the awe and mystery that I felt during its creation.”