Stoneware Pottery by David Berg

Functional ceramic and stoneware art

Part of the appeal of clay and glazes for me is in creating pieces that strike a balance between art and utility. My desire is to create functional art pottery intended for everyday use.

Each piece is entirely hand-made and finished individually. No two items are the same and even the same glazes will naturally vary from piece to piece. This is the fundamental nature of handcrafted pottery and part of what makes opening each new glaze kiln so exciting.

Stoneware pottery is enduring. I recognize that I am creating something permanent that may survive many generations. In consideration of that, I pay strict attention to detail in creating pieces that I am proud to sign my name and that I hope will enrich the lifestyles of those who come by them.

All of my pottery is handcrafted—each pot being finished individually. Therefore, no two pieces are the same and even the same glaze will naturally vary from piece to piece. This is the fundamental nature of handcrafted pottery and part of what makes opening each new glaze kiln so exciting. If it is identical matched setsyou want, your best bet is to purchase commercial mass produced factory pottery at your local department store.

My ceramics education began with classes taken at the Interlochen Arts Camp and continued through high school with strong influences coming from local area potters Richard and Marj Peeler and Richard Burkett. In between biology and chemistry classes at Indiana University, Bloomington, I continued my ceramic education under the guidance of Karl Martz, James Watkins, John Goodhart and Lenny Dowhie. I refined a functional production pottery technique during a 2-year stint as a staff potter at the Bloomington Pottery Company following graduation with a degree in microbiology. Since 1982 I have been employed as a molecular biologist with a major pharmaceutical company and had not done any ceramics until I resurrected my ceramic hobby in 2004 with encouragement from my daughter after she enrolled in a ceramics class at her school. I have been busy setting up my studio since then.

Most of my ware is functional pottery that is thrown on a potters wheel and then modified through hand modeling and texturing of the warm brown stoneware body while the clay is still moist. The potters wheel I use is a type of manual kick wheel called a Denton Vars Side Treadle wheel designed by Bernard Leach. I prefer the manual kick wheel to a motor driven model, because in addition to having greater overall control, I feel that my providing the power to turn the wheel rather than relying on electricity helps me to focus on a more natural creative progression of the raw earthen clay into finished art objects.

My pottery is stoneware ceramic—a high fired vitrified ceramic that is is non-porous and has been fired to at least 1222°C (2232°F). The ware is impervious to liquids and most stains and is safe to use in the dishwasher and microwave. The glaze formulations that I use are derived from those published by Ron Roy and John Hesselberth in Mastering Cone 6 Glazes. Ron and John are expert glaze chemists and have spent considerable effort in the research of stonewared glaze formulations that are safe and durable especially for functional pottery that is meant to be used every day.

Please take some time to browse the galleries where you can discover the scope of what I can make.