The pots are stoneware – a rugged, durable, clay. They are fired to a very high temperature (2350 Fahrenheit) in the kiln, and during the long, intense, ‘reduction’ process the clay and glazes are transformed – darkened and given depth. I love how this process, especially since I start from a local clay I dig in nearby Abiquiu, New Mexico, is not quite predictable or controllable.
A lot of the ceramics that inspire me most are old, and seem to form, as clay so easily does, a connection to the distant past. Many great pots were made by potters who worked rapidly, simply, prolifically, meeting the needs of daily living.
I'm fascinated by this paradox of clay, its age and durability, together with its faithfulness to the fleeting, passing, present. Time is an important element in my work – my goal is to evoke the feeling of time, the sense of passage from one time to another.
The pots are designed for use. They are food-safe, microwave, oven, & dishwasher-safe. I get a lot of inspiration from the vast empty Northern New Mexico landscape – the restrained warm color, the bigness of form, the presence of the distant past.
Born in Upstate New York, I graduated from Oberlin College having studied philosophy & French. Working as a river guide, outdoor educator, classroom English teacher, I pursued apprenticeships to working potters.
Now for the last twenty years I've been full-time in the studio. I teach a lot, working with individual students & private groups, beginners & advanced, kids & adults, and in 2018 will begin offering weekly classes too.
- Theo Helmstadter