Clay is the foundation of everything a potter makes. Each type of clay has unique properties and enticing potentials. Colors range from deep dark reds to the starkest of whites. Each clay comes with a surfeit of joys and challenges. The mother of all clays is porcelain.
Oh, the joy of its smooth buttery feel. The beauty of it’s soft colorful glaze surfaces. The wood fired potter is drawn to its beautiful wood ash flashing. Porcelain loves to stretch and bend. For the potter, porcelain can become a fixation. However, like all great things in life it comes at a high cost. Porcelain is not for the faint of heart. Its delicate fine particle size means that it can shrink like none other. It can be challenging to throw. Its melting properties when fired in the kiln means it can easily warp, crack, split, and beautiful attachments like handles and foot rims have a greater risk of pulling away. Any kind of problem that a clay can have for a potter comes with porcelain. When potter Zan Barnes taught a Masters Series at TVPCC, she called it “evil,” and yet it is only clay Zan works with. Choosing to make porcelain pots with excellence requires a lifetime to master and a thick skin when it comes to loss, but that does not mean one should not try.
David Voorhees and Leah Leitson are two potters who have spent their lifetimes doing just that. David’s soft color palette and billowy forms can only be achieved with this beautiful clay canvas. His pots are light and airy. He creates lines and edges against soft swells. Having spent over 40 years at the wheel, watching him move this luscious soft clay makes you believe there is nothing to it, but it requires a tenacious and relentless creativity to go there.
Leah Leitson is another potter who has dedicated her lifework to the pursuit of porcelain. She makes pots that have soft curves and beautiful edges that pull you into thinking “I’ve never seen that form before”. She uses glaze on the surface that makes it impossible not to touch her pots, which is what every potter strives for.
These two potters are masters of porcelain, and both will be teaching at The Village Potters Clay Center this summer. Come study for a week with David in our hands on, week-long workshop. You’ll learn an immense amount from his years of experience discovering the boundaries and possibilities this clay affords. If you have been lured in or want to give porcelain a try, this is the ideal workshop. Learn with a master!
If you want to spend one day and watch a master potter move, alter, and discuss this wonderful clay then come to our one day demonstration workshop with Leah Leitson. She is engaging and generous. I’m confident we will see porcelain potters who want to give it a go and feel that smooth, soft, alluring clay!
And if you work with porcelain daily then I recommend you come to both and catapult your understanding and passion for this clay exponentially.
I’m a stoneware potter. I have had a Voorhees pot and a Leitson pot in my home for years. I plan to learn from both of these master potters and who knows, maybe there are some porcelain pots in my future and yours!
To learn more or register for these workshops click HERE.
Sarah Wells Rolland
The Village Potters Clay Center
Owner and Founder