In kindergarten, Ben touched clay for the first time and his fate as a potter was sealed. His parents gave him polymer “clay” to mess with, and when he reached middle school an art teacher gave him clay to make objects at home. He would fire them in the school’s kiln.
The summer before he began high school, he was invited to attend pottery classes at the Rochester folk art guild in NY. This was the beginning of his life as a wheel potter. Ben continued to learn the craft at the guild in every spare minute he had. “The creation of art has always been my way of connecting to life, the past, present, and future,” Ben says.
In high school, Ben’s art instructors encouraged him to explore not only pottery, but all the arts. His curiosity spread beyond school & he took weekend classes in welding, glass blowing, stained glass, glass casting, and any pottery processes he could find. It was during this time that he became aware of folk pottery traditions and began making face jugs.
In lieu of formal education, Ben secured an apprenticeship with the late, great Apache potter Felipe Ortega. Afterward, he spent a decade wandering the country looking for a home. He secured 15 acres in the southern mountains of North Carolina. Ben built a studio and wood kiln, has found good places to dig stoneware clay, and good community in North Carolina.
He continues to dream of what to work on with all his tomorrows…
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