I fell in love with clay while studying in Japan over 35 years ago when I took classes in a Master potter’s studio. Wanting to work with clay has stayed with me from that time and whether it is sculpting or pottery, the opportunity to grow and make things that have meaning for me drive me daily. I’ve spent a lifetime as a teacher as well, working with the youngest as they start school to the adult who is searching for a way to create pots that are meaningful to them. I currently teach 6th to 12th graders at Westtown School, and it brings me great joy to teach them about a material I love. I also maintain a studio at my home where I spend as many weekends or evenings as I can making pots. Having spent over a decade as an independent studio potter while my daughter was young, I find I miss the daily rhythm of potting so working in the studio on a regular basis helps me stay focused on what makes a pot central to me.

Joyce Nagata

My work in majolica while I was a studio potter fueled a love of color and image. While I would say that I was not a painter, in looking back at those most productive years, I was all about creating character and narrative. I would call those pots exuberant and lush. They were unabashedly casual and somewhat clunky, but I had a joy of making and decorating and while food might not necessarily rest easily on them, I think they expressed my joy of family and the daily pace of my life.

My current work in porcelain is much quieter. I still look to see how I can incorporate color but in ways that slide between the glazes and let the pots also take the stage. I’m working on my craftsmanship - how the handle fits the hand and how the forms balance edge and surface, what function will the pot address? Changing work is a long journey, and the phrase “I’ll know the answer when I see it” comes to mind. Finding the right glazes and firing process and knowing how they will work with the forms moves my work ahead in bits and pieces, and I look forward to this new journey as an opportunity to reinvent the potter in me.

I live and work in Chester County, PA, dividing my time working with both earthenware and porcelain. Both clays have unique characteristics that I find appealing, offering me differing but related approaches for creating image, form, and surface. I find working with these clays forever challenging. I am currently working primarily with porcelain, exploring the opportunity to develop functional and colorful glazes and forms. The images I paint come from my previous work in earthenware where they sat more decorative on the surface of the pot. The fluidity of glaze, what it will do with the painted image, and how the form can dictate a 3-dimensional canvas are what interest me the most when working with the porcelain in the studio.

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