TOM TURNER PORCELAIN

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WHAT STUDENTS SAY (click on name to read)
 
 John Tilton Anne Melvin 2 Anne Melvin Mossrock Studio Ginny 
Gina Mars Joanne Wood Mike Speed Jennifer Joyce Claudia
Steve Chris Lockhart Charles Dunlop Maryann Carter Jan Bilek
Gieringer Karen Hembree Michael Oliver Marie Wright Katrina Thiebaut
Bill Schran Holly McKeen Marcia Springston Dillion Maggie Anderson Yasim Richmond

 
 
Tom....thank you so much for the three amazingly educational days that I spent at the workshop you offered Bill and myself. Your knowledge of the art and craftsmanship of pottery is astonishing. But what was so obvious is what an excellent teacher you are. You took the time to demonstrate and then to observe closely what I was doing and able to tell and show me what I could do to improve my work. I have not had the privilege of having such observed and detailed feedback on my work. I learned about so many of the aspects of pottery - from throwing, trimming, developing and changing glazes to suit ones own work and firing not to mention aesthetics and form for which you have a talent and passion. Thank you for your patience and time. Also, the collection that you have acquired over the years served as an excellent teaching tool along with your comments on the pots, the age of the creation of the work and all the other details about the history of pottery that you provided. I loved working with your porcelain. I am looking forward to receiving my order of your porcelain from Standard. I hope you will take the time to make more videos and write about the many and varied aspects of pottery and porcelain in particular so that others can benefit from your knowledge, experience and years of hard work. Again, thank you for such a growth providing experience. Yasmin Richmond.

Thank you for sharing your extraordinary experience and knowledge with me for the three days in beautiful autumn Mars Hill. It was good timing for my skill level as I was able to appreciate the subtleties of form and decoration we discussed at length. Our little pot made it home safely and I will keep it in my studio for reference and inspiration. Thanks also for the tour of your vast collection. Staggering. I look forward to digging into your porcelain in the near future.
Again, thank you for the instruction and for sharing your studio with me. I got settled in at home after your workshop and finally got to work with your porcelain. It is luscious. Period. I pulled a fairly narrow 4 pound bowl based cylinder and kept widening and widening, sure it was headed for a collapse. It didn't. What fun!
Maggie Anderson


Last month I took a trip to North Carolina for the opportunity to study at Tom Turner’s studio in Mars Hill. We spent three days talking pots and studying his extensive museum caliber collection, as well as playing with his amazing porcelain. Tom is a masterful teacher with a collector’s vast knowledge of pots and their makers. He challenged us to question our sources and allow our personality and spirit to add depth and individuality to our pots. He pushed us to know our intent each time we sat at the wheel, and to seek the finest level of detail and finish on each aspect of making. His technical expertise, knowledge and skill in working with porcelain were top-notch. He left us inspired, wiser for our time with him, and with much to ponder. Holly McKeen, www.greendalepottery.com, Chilliwack BC.


Thanks again for a great learning experience!
I hope it was a good learning experience for you also.

Your ability to patiently work with a variety of skill levels and address
the needs of each student on an individual basis speaks well of you and
reflects you previous teaching experience.

Having the opportunity to view and examine close up your vast collection of
pottery was almost worth the price of the workshop itself. The ability to
see examples of what you are discussing at any given time is perhaps the
best reinforcement for the student.

I highly recommend the entire experience.
It's certainly not your typical workshop.
The individual attention, the masterful demonstrations, Tom's museum of
pottery, his porcelain and the motivation to achieve all add up to an
experience that should not be missed.

Bill Schran
Assistant Professor and Assistant Dean
Northern Virginia Community College

 

Dear Tom,
I had the pleasure of spending three days with you in April, 2009. I enjoyed the information sharing immensely. It is hard to put into words exactly what the three days of demonstrations, hands-on learning, and unending answered questions means to me. As you know, I am just starting out with ceramics at the age of 51 and feel the need to learn from the most knowledgeable and in the most efficient way possible. Having the undivided attention of someone that has spent so many years perfecting his craft was priceless. I gained a wealth of information, and I feel very "centered" in my goals and objectives for myself in this field of study.
You are someone that my 80year old mother would describe as "down to earth." It is true that the teachers who are the most confident in their own field are the ones who exchange information to eager learners with ease and respect. No question of mine was considered unworthy of your time. Your "attention to detail" goes way beyond your ceramics expertise. You paid close attention to my current level of abilities and understanding of the process and adjusted every aspect of your teaching to meet my individual needs. For a student to get just what they need at the point they need it is, in my opinion, attention to detail at its finest!
I would recommend your individualized classes to anyone at any level of learning. Even as a beginner, I can easily recognize your master skill. The large collection of pottery that you have gathered over the years and your knowledge of the different potters and time periods are astounding. You hold in your mind and inside your studio so much to share with those willing to accept your gracious teaching. Thank you for the awesome experience.
Sincerely,
Katrina Thiebaut
 

With the combination of the instruction and the porcelain, I was able to throw higher and better than I ever have. Not only did my hands get better, but my eye for pottery also got better thanks to your knowledge and library of pots. Thanks for making me a better potter.
Dan Hester

I attended a 3 day workshop with Tom after hearing from numerous potters that the experience would be well worth it. I went into it hoping to learn a few new tricks to improve my throwing, and hoping to remedy a few bad habits that I knew I had fallen into, but couldn’t seem to shake. What I got out of the workshop was much more than I had hoped for. Not only did he give me some great coaching that helped me to remedy the areas that I knew I was weak, but he helped me to identify and correct more subtle problems as well.

An unexpected bonus that I got out of my workshop was the fact that Tom got me to slow down. As a working mother, I try to be as efficient as possible at pretty much everything I do, and this philosophy was spilling over into my pottery. Tom helped me to remember that for me, pottery is a time to relax and really enjoy myself – to “walk behind the turtle” as he says. I’ll be honest, slowing down was not an easy thing for me, but since I have, I’ve found a new peace and calm when I throw that I had lost along the line.

Since my workshop, I am making nicer shapes with lovely thin walls, and having far fewer failures. Most importantly, though, I am enjoying pottery much more now than I was before. Because of what I had heard about Tom, I had high expectations of him, and he gave me far more than I had anticipated! I have no trouble at all recommending this workshop – you won’t be disappointed!

Marie Wright, California
 

My name is Mike Oliver, I’m the studio manager at the Sioux City Art Center clay studio and I’d like to tell you about my visit to Tom Turner’s studio for three days of lessons this past January. I went there hoping to improve my throwing skills and maybe learn a little bit about glazing that would help me do the studio manager job a little better.

I got a lot more than I had hoped for. I spent about half my time there practicing throwing with Tom looking over my shoulder. If it sounds a little intimidating to throw with a master observing, it’s not. Tom is a teacher, not a critic, and he is a very good teacher. If you don’t get what he’s trying to tell you, he’ll find another way to put it until you do. He’s very patient and really wants to help you improve. From throwing to trimming to structure to just different ways to think about what you’re doing, Tom shares with you from a huge wealth of knowledge and experience.

I’ve had a chance to come home and put what I learned into practice and my pots are night to day better than they were. I learned tips about glazing and ways to adjust glazes that have me looking forward to opening every kiln I fire. Several glazes we had problems with are no longer problems.

I also got a special bonus. Tom loves what he does and I came home more excited about working in clay than I had been anytime since I took my first clay class in college in 1972. It’s been four months now and I’m still excited.

Once I get everything I learned worked into what I do, I’ll probably want to go back and take Tom’s class again. I have no doubt that I could take his class half a dozen times and make a big jump forward every time. Besides, I had a lot of fun while I was there.

If you enjoy making pots, give yourself a great gift and go take a class from Tom.
 

After several years of working outside the clay world, I currently have the opportunity to return to studio ceramics. My interest in porcelain directed me to the work of Tom Turner. In hopes of accelerating my learning curve, I signed up for Tom’s three day workshop at his studio in Mars Hill, NC. A truly beautiful location in the hills north of Asheville.

One immediately encounters Tom’s amazing collection of Contemporary, Traditional American folk pottery, and Asian ceramics. His passion for collecting is enhanced by his forty-seven years of experience in clay. Tom’s vast web of knowledge overlaps with personal connections with luminaries such as Otto and Vivika Heino, Ralph Bacerra, Tatsuzo Shimaoka, Dave Shaner, and Don Reitz, just to name a few. Tom’s elegant forms with their outstanding glazed surfaces are also available to examine.

The studio sessions with Tom covered all aspects of the ceramic process from throwing and altering forms, to making lids, spouts and handles, as well as discussions on glazing, testing and firing. Areas of personal interest were investigated in depth. Examples from the collection aided in further dialogs in regards to aesthetics. Tom's specially developed porcelain clay body was responsive and devoid of typical porcelain challenges such as slumping. The porcelain was quite enjoyable to work with and effortless to throw.

North Carolina’s rich tradition of ceramics continues to thrive throughout the state. I’m most grateful for the suggested artists, potteries, galleries and museums to visit while I was in the area. This experience has certainly strengthened my skills, but more importantly opened up many new arenas to investigate for future inspiration.

Karen Hembree

Last night I returned from Tom Turner's for some one on one instruction over the last 3 days. It's truly amazing what bad habits can be formed and not seen until you're sitting in front of a 45+ year potter. After overcoming those obstacles, a whole new light was shed on attention to detail and aesthetics. He just does it naturally without thinking and it makes such a difference in his pots. I was becoming bored with my pots and have to assume my customers were as well. If nothing more, I became very motivated while there. I went to the studio this morning and spent the entire day analyzing my small tools, stamps, glazes and processes deciding what to keep and what needs a change. Tom is a great source of knowledge in all aspects of the ceramic industry. One thing I liked was when I walked in each morning; Tom would ask me what I wanted to do. He's there to teach you what YOU want to learn. I chose to spend much of my time just talking with him. The history and stories are worth it all. Speaking of history, Tom has a collection of pottery that everyone should see as it's truly amazing. His studio is up on a mountain and is so serene and peaceful that the only thing we heard were locusts. If you have the chance or desire to visit with Tom, I highly recommend you do. I'm hoping to utilize what I have learned and hopefully make another trip back in the fall or next spring.

Jeff Gieringer
 

Dear TT,

My studio is now divided into BT pots and AT pots, that's Before Turner and After Turner. A huge difference. I took most of my BT unfired pots and threw them in recycle. After my days with you they aren't worth firing. The BT bisque pots will be used for glaze testing and line blends.
I loved your glaze room and all the test tiles.I am delighted that the glaze firing I witnessed turned out so well. I learned a lot because the oxyprobe readings were questionable so you relied on the look of the flames and the smells coming from the peeps.My thrown cylinders are getting better, and ribbing them out to fuller shapes with even walls is progressing nicely. Throwing in series as a design and learning tool is proving to be very enlightening. I am spending more time in the studio (with my business phone close at hand) and less time in the office - series throwing is that addictive.
Your porcelain continues to perform beautifully, even as recycle.

The poster you signed is now hung at the Corcoran School of Art and Design. It looks great and the signature is drawing additional attention.Thanks again for boosting my aspirations in porcelain by a quantum amount. I had a wonderful time.
Best,
Ginny,
Virginia

Good Morning Tom!

I've had a couple of weeks for my mind to absorb the information I learned in your workshop. Since the workshop I've had time to work on my own and watch my mindset changing. And believe me, at this stage of life with 30 years of throwing pots, change ain't easy. I have bad habits, but I realize that I have some pretty good ones, too. As you say, I'm a better potter than my pots show.
From wedging, to throwing, to finishing, there are even minute changes I've made that allow me to make more distinctive pots. Or, as you say, pots with "intention". Intention indicates thinking, planning, and aesthetic awareness. Your vast eclectic collection of pottery was integral to the study of the anatomy of pots. Having those fabulous examples of work, including your own, was truly instructive in helping me better understand structures from rims to lids to handles, to the relationship of all these parts. Sometimes after throwing pots for a long time it can be difficult to see the forest for the trees, i.e. the relationship of the foot to the rim, the handle to the mug, or the lid to the shoulder of the jar.
The best way to pull oneself out of the ruts of habitual and complacent work is to have an objective, accomplished, and forthright perspective for guidance. Our discussions on form and the function of pots as well as working with the porcelain renewed my perspective and provided new challenges. Even though the instruction was specific to porcelain, I have gained skills that I can apply to any clay body. I look forward to developing and fine tuning my work.

And, Thank you, Tom!
Claudia
www.yummymudpuddle.com


 

Hi Tom,

As a potter for 18 yrs I recently decided to think about changing from a raku/stoneware potter to a porcelain potter. I had always been a huge fan of Tom Turner and decided to visit his Mars Hill NC studio/school. Tom charges his students a modest fee for 2 full days of whatever you want to do. Talk, make pots ect. I was lucky enough to catch him when he was firing his geil kiln porcelain with copper reds/flambe. It was an incredible experience. I feel you can always use a new perspective and learn something new even if you have years of experience. Tom has 45 years experience and his work is incredible. He has so many incredible potter friends and stories that I could have stayed much longer and learned something new everyday.
You know a potter still has his spark when he wakes up at the crack of dawn to peak inside the kiln when it is hot. I would recommend Tom's school to any beginner or advanced potter who doesn't have a lot of time or money I really felt it was worth every penny. One night Tom took me out to see the surrounding towns that are full of galleries and college students. His place is 30 minutes from Penland. Apparently there are 150 potters in the area. When Tom runs into college students he usually invites them to visit his studio which I thought was an amazing offer. The college kids reply was something like. "Thanks, but I have lots of potter friends." This I found amazing because living in New York is totally different. If I mention that I am a potter, people usually look at me like I have two heads. What's a potter? You mean you smoke pot? Of coarse I find this equally irritating as Tom must find these student potters in NC. If Tom approached me with an invite I would certainly take it. I will never forget waking up early and removing one of those red pots from the kiln and holding it close for warmth in the morning chill. What an experience.
Gina Mars
www.marspottery.net

 

Tom,

It was an incredible experience to spend two days with you in your beautiful mountaintop home and studio. Your generosity and hospitality made my husband and I feel comfortable and exceeded every expectation we had for the class and trip to North Carolina. The wonderful dinner and trip to Penland for the opening were certainly beyond anything we imagined and were so much appreciated. The time we spent with you went by so quickly yet was packed with so much information and great experiences, that it will take some time to absorb it all.

I feel very fortunate to have been able to take this class with you individually and to have been able to use the time we had to view your remarkable collection and slides. I greatly appreciated the critique of my work and suggestions for improvement. The history, and meaningful discussions, along with observing you throw and finish your work was an extraordinary experience. It was an amazing opportunity to watch a master at work and to be able to see the nuances in the level of detail and maturity in your work. I'm so glad that you were willing to sit and throw all afternoon on Friday so I could closely observe your techniques and how much further you take each piece than I do. It gives me something to strive for in my own pottery with new insight and vision. I'm anxious to get back to my studio this week and begin that process.

I would highly recommend your class to fellow potters, and hope to come back again in the future.

I finally got back into the studio yesterday and had a great day applying the techniques I learned during our class. I was able to throw larger fuller forms than I ever have in the past. The throwing techniques such as opening wider, starting with the donut shape, and expanding the shoulder then bringing the lower portion out to meet it were amazingly helpful in expanding my forms. Starting with the wider foot and bringing it in as I did each successive pull really helped to stabilize the larger form, and I still ended up with the narrow foot that I like. I also threw lids using the techniques you demonstrated. I am so glad you demonstrated as much as you did on the second day of class. I learned so much by watching you work, and the photos helped me remember the techniques and detail.

With high regards,

Jan Bilek
Minnesota


 

Thank You...for the wax resist... for the opportunity to talk with Nan McKinnell and see the video... and being able to tell Bert how much i admire his work... for all the lessons learned because of your coaching... for allowing me to relax and feel so comfortable in your studio and home... for dessert and coffee... for your patience as my teacher... for seeming to understand where i am as a potter... for trusting me... for the gallery opening... for a very complete two day retreat. it was time and money so very well spent. I believe that I am a better potter now. I believe that all things happen for reasons far beyond our understanding...and i am pretty amazed at the sequence of events that tied pots to people to me through you. You are lucky i didn't steal the Robineau book or the bowl :) i think they touched my soul somehow. I am glad to have spent the time with you Tom... you made a difference in my world.

Joanne Wood
North Carolina
 

 

I was looking for a diversion and a reason to get out of Los Angeles; something fun, a new place to explore, a possible new place to live with an added educational bonus. My vacations are usually scheduled around workshops and classes so an opportunity to study with a master porcelain potter seemed perfect. I am a potter and sculptor but haven’t had much experience with porcelain.

The time I spent with Tom Turner was fabulous beyond my wildest dreams. My private lessons focused on the areas where I needed the most help and I was able to learn about anything I wanted. Our discussions about form and design produced many “Aha!” moments. I saw the interrelationships of the diameters and lines of a pot in new and different ways. I tried to absorb every bit of information I could, watching and taking pictures of Tom throwing for hours, trimming, making lids and handles. I probably drove him a little crazy with my camera clicking almost 480 photos in only 2 days.

His huge museum quality collection of ancient and 19th and 20th century pottery is beautiful and inspirational and the slide shows were remarkable and wonderful to see. Tom put so much of his energy and heart into this workshop and I appreciate all of his efforts and boundless hospitality.

During the six days I was in the area, we drove out to a friend’s house to see the huge wood-fired kiln containing three months of work, there was a yummy potluck dinner and Tom baked a delicious apple cream pie from scratch. On another day we had a wonderful dinner at an eclectically decorated and colorful Greek restaurant in Weaverville, we went gallery hopping in Asheville, drove out to Penland School of Craft and saw resident artists, Matt and Shoko, visited with long-time ceramic artist Norm Schulman at his wonderful house and kiln in the beautiful North Carolina woods.

I threw my share of countless pots and gleefully cut them in half to see how I was progressing. Now that I am back in the studio I can see a significant difference in my throwing and I feel that I have improved a lot as I am applying the new techniques Tom taught me.

I highly recommend Tom’s class to anyone wanting to expand their throwing skills, see an impressive collection of ancient to contemporary ceramics, hear rare ceramic tales from a master potter and savor the rich North Carolina pottery and craft tradition at the source. Thank you for an unforgettably wonderful experience. You are a very skilled and patient teacher. You were so nice, so thoughtful and such a good host. I felt welcome and comfortable in your house and studio and it was an honor to share that time with you.

Jennifer Joyce
California
web site: www.jenniferjoyce.com
 

Dear Tom,

WOW!! What a wonderful learning experience you provided for me. With Thirty-four years of teaching behind me I can recognize a fine teacher and you fit the bill. As an intermediate you quickly identified my strengths and weaknesses and then the show was on for two days of high intensity learning. It was great! Not a minute was wasted at meeting my needs. Also, you furnished the perfect environment including not only all the tools and equipment needed but also an absolutely beautiful, serene setting with virtually a museum of examples from which to study form, surface, color and technique. I could easily follow your organization and structure of content. The “attention to detail” focus that was woven through out the two days made perfect sense. At this time in my development of pottery skills it was extraordinary to be able to study under a master artist. You have saved me countless hours of trial and error. What a priceless value for me.

The skills I learned were only part of the Tom Turner experience. The blending of skills, aesthetics, and techniques will serve to keep me focused on the pot as a whole. This goes way beyond just form and function as most dwell on. Throughout the two days both you and your collection spoke volumes on the subject of what turns a pot into a real piece of art. And yours are certainly art.

Charles Dunlop
North Carolina



Hi Tom,

It was truly three fantastic days of immersion in pottery art, materials, process and form. While I have had the opportunity to visit a number of famous museums which had pottery, I never had the curator take me on a guided tour and explain each piece and allow me to hold some really great pieces of art. Your collection is something that every aspiring potter (and some old ones) should see.

Since I deal with scientists on a daily basis, I was amazed to see how much of a scientist you are. Your constant reminders to “pay attention to detail”; to “always be curious”; and to “understand materials, process and form” are traits of a scientist. I understand now what led you to test 175 clay bodies, to develop your porcelain body, and to build your own kilns.

While you are a master thrower and have developed superb glazes, your attention to detail is at its finest when you are trimming. Your “awareness” is like the awareness in Zen. When you throw, you throw; when you glaze you glaze; when you trim your trim. You make trimming an art form. Nothing is hurried; the pot is not ready until it has “look” and “feel” you want. The lip and foot are often pieces of art unto themselves. The inside of your lids are pots by themselves.

Tom, you have so much to offer and so willing to share that I hope other people will take advantage of the opportunity to go to your porcelain school (actually a university).

Mike Speed
Associate Dean, College of Science
Texas
7/16/06

 

Tom Turner – Thanks

Dear Tom,

Thank you so much for helping me be more aware of the subtleties that make a pot look and feel more professional.

Ever since I started working with clay 12 years ago, I’ve been on a quest to find the perfect pot and to acquire the skill to make it. Up till I met you, I’ve just taken baby steps in that journey. But now I feel I’ve taken several giant steps in correcting the flaws that you gently brought to my attention and helped me correct. I know I’m a much better potter since I’ve studied with you.

I just wanted to thank you for sharing with me your “secrets” to throwing good pots. Since my pilgrimage to Mars Hill, my pots have been taller, and my bases have needed less trimming. That’s all because my walls are consistently thinner and stronger and shape easier. They will now complement my crystalline glazes.

Every day since I returned home to work with my porcelain, I can hear your voice telling me that if I pay more attention to detail, the pots will automatically look more professional. So if I try to get away with little “mistake”, I know that the flaw will not go away. You’ve given me the confidence to wire a pot in half and examine what needs to be improved. Each time I sit down at my wheel, I get excited knowing I’m throwing better and better pots.

I’m practicing your techniques every day because I want to return next year, ready to take more giant steps in my quest. I also want to give you the satisfaction of knowing how much you have helped me be a better potter.

All the best to you,
Anne Melvin
Connecticut

 

Hello Tom,

It has taken some time for me to digest all of the information I took in over the three days I spent with you earlier this summer. Like a dry sponge I listened, studied, and watched as you gave as much knowledge and insight as my eyes and ears could handle. Being able to directly apply that knowledge to a wheel made it a great hands-on learning experience as well. The surprise for me was that the "hands-on" portion of the class was being able to look at, discuss, and touch the greatest pottery collection I have ever seen. The challenge for me would be to bottle everything I had learned and bring it back to Texas, because I knew when I got back I was going to question my own work in a big way.
Since your workshop my work has slowed down tremendously, but in a positive way. I have to admit that over the past year or more I think that making pots had become a numbers game for me. Entering the studio, the craftsman in me would go on vacation and put some rookie from finance in charge- "Let's see, we need x number of widgets for the show next month priced at yada yada yada." But thankfully, watching you work this summer I was reminded of why I fell in love with making pots to begin with. It seems that you spend just as much time with a handcup as you would a large lidded vase. At whatever stage you are at with a pot you devote as much skill and expertise necessary to make it the best pot it could possibly be. The idea of making twelve mugs is no longer present when I approach the wheel, but rather "I'm going to throw one mug- the best mug I can make. If time presents itself, I'll make another one."
I've had two firings since returning home with at least half the space in both occupied by test tiles. Your attitude toward glaze testing and construction has encouraged me to design my own set of glazes and I realize that I can begin with line blending the formulas that I already have. I'm also confident that with an original set of glazes, not only will my understanding of the materials be greater, but my connection to the process will be stronger as well.
I've also been thinking about what you called "signatures". I've been aware of every mark I make on a pot; every glaze line, lip, spout, handle, and embellishment is equally important. I feel, for the first time, that I am making my pots! I can't tell you how much my work has changed since your class. I think the best thing that happened was that I was able to strip away what I didn't need and focus on what is truly important: craftmanship and detail on each individual pot.
At a festival this past weekend, at least 7 people approached my booth and said, "Oh my god... this is beautiful... Oh my God!!!" It was truly the best show I've ever had, not in terms of sales, but the response that I got from people was amazing. I can't thank you enough for the insight that you gave me and the inspiration to put it to use. I hope you are doing well and I'll look forward to talking with you soon. Thanks again-

Chris Lockhart
College Station, TX

 

Dear Tom,

When I arrived on Friday evening, met you and had the opportunity to sort through your extensive collection of pots, it became clear that this was going to be a special experience. The weekend was a total emersion into the ceramic art world. So much information was shared that it has taken me some time to even begin to put my experience into words. My head is still spinning!

I was impressed with the skill and traditions of south eastern potters. They produced some of the most beautiful, functional, simple and unpretentious pots out of pure necessity. They were definitely pots with intention. Seeing and holding pots from so many different potters that I had read about was very inspirational.

Your studio is a unique place for serious pottery students to come and study all aspects of pottery making. Discussions about the history and philosophy of working with clay preceded any discussion on technique or material science. I think this is a significant difference between your school and past short workshops that I have taken.
In past workshops, the focus was on rushing through the steps of forming, glazing, and firing so that one could leave with a finished piece. In your school, the intention is not to leave with a finished pot, but to leave with a wealth of information that one can use to rise to the next level.

Thanks again Tom for sharing your knowledge and your time. I would definitely recommend a trip to your studio to anyone with a serious interest in pottery. I hope to come for another visit in the near future.

Steve
New Jersey

 

Tom is an incredible instructor. I had admired his work for many years, but now I am able to admire his work and his teachings. I came to pottery at 36, which left me hunting avenues to learn. My first instructor, Stephen Jepson had taught me a great deal, but now I had reached a plateau in my work. It was moderately good, but inconsistent and always just a bit off center. I realized that my real problem was not moving forward, but needing to back up and learn how to center completely. Tom was willing to work with me on all aspects of my throwing. We discussed form, areas where my pots were weak and really focused on making a good pot from beginning to end. He explained the entire process more thoroughly then I had found in any class, workshop or book. My work has already improved a great deal. Thanks Tom and I will be back for more classes as I have no doubt there is much more to learn.

Maryann Carter
Florida

Hi Tom,

I want to thank you for the personal instruction and the time that you spent with me. It felt so much better to sit at the wheel and throw with some needed direction. Mental blocks sure can take you out of your game plan. Your new start and dedication is just one of the many things I admire about you, not to mention how you 'look' at a pot and the attention to detail, which may be your mantra, but you do what you say. Your thought process is remarkable and I am glad to have been a part of it.
Talk to you soon,
Andy

Mossrock Studio & Fine Art Gallery
26002 Oakridge Drive
The Woodlands, TX 77380

Hi Everyone,

Some time around 1980 I was at an art show in Maitland, FL and this guy came up and looked at my pots and finally said, "I really like the way you lap your casserole lids." I'm quite sure that my jaw just about hit the ground because almost no one knows about using valve grinding compound to make lids fit perfectly. This person was Tom Turner and we talked awhile and then he invited me to his house in Lake Mary, just north of Orlando. The following Monday morning I was at his door to begin what has become a great friendship. I was just amazed at the pots that he had made. I thought at the time that they were so beautiful that they could not have come from the physical plane -- they must have somehow come from some astral place and deposited themselves in Tom's house. I was tremendously inspired by his work, and remain so to this day. He makes beautiful pots, honest pots, pots that might take some knowledge to appreciate.

In 1981, I was teaching at Santa Fe CC in Gainesville, FL and Tom came to do a workshop for my students. I was amazed by his technique and the lightness of his pots, and also the forms, of course. He has a really highly developed sense of form and glaze.

Some of his latest glazes are even crystalline in nature, though they are not zinc crystals.
See http://www.tomturnerporcelain.com/images/photos%20a/march%2008%20firing/IMG_5180.JPG

So this past weekend I drove up to Asheville, NC and took his throwing course -- 2 days of lessons and, of course, just palling around in the mountains and having fun. The highlight for me was going to an auction and Tom won a pot that looks like it might be a Hamada for 40.00. It was in a box with some awful pots and a pair of slip cast bird salt and pepper shakers. I had never been to an auction before so it was a really fun experience for me. I-bid-25-willyougive-30.... stream of consciousness auctioneer talk just made me smile from ear to ear.

But the bottom line is that I was able to learn some things that improved my throwing. I did not have to change everything, but I did not learn correctly in the beginning so I had some bad habits which were holding me back. We got those corrected and Tom also showed me how to throw and coil porcelain for very large forms. We also talked about my forms and how I might improve them so it was a great time for me.

Tom also has an incredible pottery collection -- there have to be well over 1000 pieces. For us crystal potters there were a couple of Marc Hansen's and a couple of little David Snair's along with a beautiful Tim Marcotte platter and a couple of mine. But his collection is a compendium of World Ceramics, from the Ming Dynasty to contemporary ceramics. There are two huge Korean wine jars which are maybe 3 feet tall and 3 feet in diameter. It is a resource that deserves a museum. It is worth the price of admission to just see these amazing pieces. Plus there are hundreds of books and show catalogs.

Does it sound like I am encouraging you to go? I am.

Especially if you are self taught in the throwing area. It's an opportunity to be with someone who makes some of the best pots around in a tiny class so you have lots of his attention. My class was one on one, but classes are at most four on one.

I also came back with a nice pot. http://www.tomturnerporcelain.com/images/photos%20a/jan%2008%20firing/IMG_4923.JPG

For a look at Tom's web page go to www.tomturnerporcelain.com.


John Tilton


Wow!

I just have to second everything John just said. Two years ago I was looking for someone to help me move to the next level with my throwing. You know, faster, thinner, lighter with better form. Both John and Tom Coleman recommended Tom Turner.

This lady cannot type when someone is looking over my shoulder. And I sure as heck had trouble throwing, even centering, with someone evaluating my every move. But the one-on-one experience I had with TomT as my tutor was well worth the trip and the money. When I came home, I found my pots went from heavy to light. He gave me the confidence to pull a wire through any pot, even the "good" ones, to see what I did right and, most usually, what improvements could be made.

John didn't mention the detail and perfection that makes each TT pot unique, from the trimming on the foot to the pot shape hidden inside each lid. I have two of his pots which I check often to see if I could finish a lip, form a lid, or detail a foot better. Tom throws so thin that most of his pots over 4lbs are as translucent as the smaller ones. (I took a flashlight and checked.)

Tom also has a DVD set of one of his two day workshops available. But the pilgrimage to Mars Hill is well worth it. He is a gracious host. My husband joined us each night for dinner and TT made both of us feel welcome and valued, as he showed us the sights of Ashville.

I throw every day a litle bit better because I hear Tom's words going through my head... and I have his pots and DVD's to guide me.
Maybe I'll even try to meet that 6lb challenge... during a blue moon.

All the best,
Anne Melvin

Recently I attended a hands-on workshop with Tom Turner. I would recommend the workshop to any beginner or advanced student. Tom is very good at both showing and describing throwing techniques. I am totally blind, so I know I presented an unusual challenge for Tom. He was really cool with my disability! He showed me his extensive collection of valuable pottery and answered my questions about color and form in a meaningful way. Since I returned home, I feel that my work has gradually but steadily improved. It takes a little while for new throwing habits to become our own.

Thanks so much,
Marcia Springston-Dillon


 

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