ACGA Newsletter March 2023
WRITER VINCE MONTAGUE BECAME A POTTER AND PENNED A MOVING MEMOIR.
IT’S A REALLY GOOD READ.
Most people embark into the world of clay from a beginning class they took in high school or in a community classroom. I began my journey at the age of forty-seven after my wife, Julia Terr, died in a car accident. Julia was a studio potter and a member of the board of ACGA. Among the many things she accomplished, one of the biggest was building a studio in northern Sonoma county where I live today. Although I had no experience with clay, I entered her studio and began making pots because I couldn’t bear to see her studio die. Inside, I encountered a completely professional studio with wheels, kilns, clay, glazes, tools, and books about how to make pots. I immersed myself in the studio and began to learn how to throw pots and fire kilns. This is before YouTube or Instagram, so my knowledge felt incomplete at best. Quickly, however, I found a way to channel my grief by working with clay. I had no idea it would grow into something where I would abandon my life as a college-writing instructor and move to becoming a full time potter, but that is what happened. My book, Cracked Pot, is a memoir of that experience and how I learned to find my own voice in clay. You can order the book online or ask for it in a bookstore. The easiest is to order directly from my publisher: https://www.latahbooks.com/cracked-pot
I started by knowing nothing and through trial and error, learned what I needed to do, but at all times, I felt over my head and completely lost inside the clay studio. Failure was the constant; I had no idea other people working in clay learned the same way. I began to sell my work in the local farmer’s market, and then I found an outlet in a store in my local community that wanted my work exclusively. I knew that selling pots was an impossible task, but working in clay was the only way I wanted to live. Now, I sell my pots at the ACCI Gallery in Berkeley and at the local shop in my community. I have grown from throwing pots on the wheel to building sculptures out of solid pieces of clay. My sculptural work has been shown at Hugomento in San Francisco, The Epperson Gallery in Crockett, and The Craig Krull Gallery in Santa Monica. I am opening up an online store. You can see my work at this link: https://vincemontague.bigcartel.com/
Although I used to think of myself as “self-taught” I now believe there is no such thing. We learn from everyone around us, and certainly Julia was my first teacher because I was surrounded by her pots. I learned from looking and using her pots on a daily basis. But I also learned from her friends in the ceramic community who embraced me and shared their knowledge. The main thing is that when I entered the world of clay in the beginning, I followed my instincts because I had no other options. And even today, when I go to work in my studio, I follow that same impulse and follow my intuition. I have no fears inside a clay studio, only the desire to make something beautiful out of clay and hopefully share that beauty with the world.
Photos, clockwise from top left: Cracked Pot bookcover, Vince Montague, sculpture by Vince Montague, face mug by Julia Terr, chicken vessel by Julia Terr, box by Vince Montague, head forms by Vince Montague—courtesy of Vince Montague.
Praise for Cracked Pot
“Cracked Pot is a soul-baring memoir of love, creativity, loss, grief, and creativity again. Sentence by beautifully wrought, thoughtful sentence, Vince Montague narrates the premature death of his wife, Julia, and how he was able to rebuild his life by way of the clay and kilns and inspiration she left behind for him.” — Benjamen Dreyer, New York Times bestselling author of Dreyer’s English
“Vince Montague’s Cracked Pot is a wondrous memoir of personal reinvention and the transformative power of art….This volume, like finely wrought ceramics, is something beautiful you can hold in hand and treasure always.” — Roy Parvin, author of In the Show Forest and The Lonelist Road in America
“Cracked Pot resonates with its multiple meanings and meditates on love and death from title to the last word. This is raw life, raw materials, raw feelings, salvaged by the silken slip of clay, the discovery of thinking with your hands.” — Maw Shein Win, author of Storage Unit for the Spirit House
Vince will be reading and discussing Cracked Pot in the Bay Area at the following places:
Books, Inc. (Berkeley)
1491 Shattuck Avenue
Conversation with writer and curator Nancy Selvin
Red Brick Ceramic Studio (San Francisco)
2111 Mission Street (3rd Floor)
Conversation with poet Maw Shein Win
Reader’s Book (Sonoma)
130 E Napa Street
Conversation with ceramicist Kala Stein
Also Vince will be demonstrating and talking about my studio practice and how it relates to my experience with clay:
Red Brick Studios
2111 Mission Stree (3rd Floor)
Sonoma Community Center
276 E Napa Street
Submitted by Vince Montague
SOCIAL MEDIA SENSATION MOONDOBANG CREATOR VISITS CALIFORNIA FOR EXTENDED WORKSHOP TOUR, AND A HOT DOG.
Instagram sensation, MoonDoBang creator Mr. Moon, Byung Sik, will make his first visit to the US with a tour of California and a stopover in Helena, Montana.
At the age of 16, Moon Byung Sik fell in love with clay. He had passion, but the skills didn’t come easily. It took him 10 times longer to finish a pot than some of his peers, but with perseverance and practice, he began to win skills competitions.
After college, at 26, Moon started a studio practice inside his father’s barn with the idea that he would make pots he likes to make and—he reasoned—people would buy them. He soon discovered that what he wanted to make was not what customers wanted to buy. Competing for buyers with other potters who had 20, 30, or 40 years of experience was challenging.
As he reflects on his path today, starting at a young age was his best decision. He made mistakes and had failures due to his lack of experience, but he says that he was able to put aside his failures more easily and continue moving forward because he had less to lose.
Seventeen years after he first sat at a pottery wheel, Moon operates a professional workshop where he produces his porcelain products and sells them from his gallery and shop in Yeoju, South Korea. He ships worldwide from his website www.moondobang.com. Follow him on Instagram @moondobang
MoonDoBang : US Tour : How it all started
In November 2022, I had a chance to take a virtual pottery class with the Korean artist, Moon Byung Sik of MoonDoBang, hosted by Kala Stein. I casually mentioned that I would like to host a workshop for him in San Francisco.
Start: November 2022
Kala Stein and Joanne Lee, host and translator for Moon for the virtual workshop, set up a meeting to explore the possibility of Moon visiting the US, more specifically San Francisco and the Bay Area. He agreed to 10 days, which grew to 14 days. Then we decided to visit his friend, Adam Field in Helena, Montana,… who mentioned that he had contacts in LA and that if we were to extend and expand the tour, wouldn’t that be wonderful?
Plan : MoonDoBang US Tour: 2023
By mid December, I had commitments from 11 venues and most days were filled, with workshops scheduled from Petaluma down to San Diego, and Helena, Montana. Round-trip air from Seoul, Korea was purchased.
By the second week in January, scheduling was completed for Moon on his first visit to the US with a 24-day, 14-venue, 13-city, 2-state, west coast tour that includes demos, workshops, and an Instagram live feed.
In February, the last venue committed and a brainstorm led to the Virtual Demo with Moon and Adam Field from Helena, Montana, to be hosted by Kala Stein.
Show Time : MoonDoBang US Tour : 2023
Moon landed at SFO March 16. 10 boxes of MoonDoBang porcelain pots have arrived. 150 Posters have been printed. 100 T-shirts have been ordered. His room is made.
Most venues have sold out all the seats, some within 5 minutes of opening registration publicly—some selling out only to members. Success can be attributed to Moon’s 97K Instagram followers, help from Adam Field with his 117K followers and mailing list, and the Instagram following of the 15 participating venues. Yes, the power of social media can be measured.
If you haven’t reserved seats yet, try Laney College: https://laney.edu/art/
Additional information is on the tour page at mikisr.com: http://www.mikisr.com/moondobangtour
Registration for the Virtual Demo with Adam Field is open. Registration can be found at KalaStein.com: https://kalastein.thinkific.com/
When asked about what he would like to see and do while on his first visit to the US, he said, “eat a hot dog, see the Golden Gate Bridge, and go to a baseball game.” We have tickets to the Oakland A’s opener on March 30th, where Shohei Ohtani will be starting for the Angels. Kala is hosting a dinner and hot dogs are on the menu. And I’m sure we will cross the Golden Gate Bridge at least once.
MEET YOUR BOARD MEMBER SALLY JACKSON
I started working with clay seriously after moving to California eight years ago. Before that I lived in North Carolina, where we raised our sons and kept dairy goats. I’ve always had my hands in some kind of craft – carpentry, quilting, gardening, cheesemaking – but clay has taken over in recent years. I use wheel-throwing and hand-building to make sculptural and functional pieces. Whenever possible, I use clays and glaze materials that I gather locally. My work is fired in electric and wood-burning kilns.
Through clay, I’ve found strong communities in ACGA and the Palo Alto Art Center. I’ve been ACGA’s secretary since 2018, I serve on the Festival Committee as liaison with community groups, and I also help with exhibitions. Outside of ACGA, I’ve volunteered in our nearby high school’s ceramics program, and during the pandemic I organized neighbors to create clay totems that are now displayed on our street.
The pieces shown here came about as I pondered how we connect with the world outside of normal social exchanges. For me, books have always been both an escape and a way to hear other people’s thoughts and voices. Firing ceramic books becomes a metaphor for how powerful and resilient those words and voices can be. Likewise, I spend a lot of time outdoors studying the natural world, particularly birds. Influenced by my gig leading bird surveys at a local preserve, I find making birds in clay to be a kind of reassurance. I like the layers of resilience that exist in the finished work: there is the resilience of Nature itself, there is the resilience of clay when it’s been fired, and lastly, there are the seemingly ancient surfaces from the wood-firing that conjure wisdom of the deep past.
Sally Jackson, ACGA Secretary www.sallygravesjackson.com @sallygjackson
TERRA LINDA CERAMIC ARTISTS PRESENT
ARTICULATION – THE ART OF PLAYING WITH FORM
The Terra Linda Ceramic Artists present it Member’s show, ARTICULATION — the art of playing with form, which includes ACGA members Jo Clarke, Geraldine GaNun, Susan Hontalas, Nadia Tarzi-Saccardi, and Melissa Woodburn.
The exhibit is hosted by Falkirk Cultural Center, 1408 Mission Ave., San Rafael from March 10th-April 21, 2023 with an opening reception/art walk on March 10th from 5-8pm. For additional information and hours at Falkirk Cultural Center, contact them at www.falkirkculturalcenter.org or terralindaceramicartists.com.
NEW SODA KILN AT STANFORD
One bright spot in February’s gray weather was the completion of a soda kiln in the courtyard of Stanford University’s Product Realization Lab (PRL). Spearheaded by Applied Physics professor and ceramic artist Hideo Mabuchi, and funded by the new cross-disciplinary initiative Making@Stanford https://making.stanford.edu, the kiln will enable more students to work with clay and more Stanford faculty to incorporate ceramics into their classes. These new opportunities will be organized around courses, workshops, and maker/artist residencies. One of the main goals is to connect ceramics, with its traditions and material culture, with contemporary engineering and materials science as well as computer science, art practice, and the performing arts.
Construction was led by kiln-builder Ted Neal, who is also a faculty member in ceramics at Ball State University in Indiana. I was among several helpers who jumped on board to help. The project involved a lot of steel L-angle, many pallets of bricks, mortar, a MIG welding rig, and a couple of serious power saws. After Ted welded a low, table-like metal frame, we stacked hard and soft bricks to create the floor, walls, chimney, and ceiling arch. Ted then reinforced the kiln with a metal frame and added a hinged door. As final steps we insulated the top of the kiln chamber and mounted a metal roof overhead. Having never built a kiln before, I gained huge appreciation for the precision, expertise, and teamwork that such a project involves. And I truly enjoyed working with Ted, Hideo, and helpers Christopher Watt and Nicholas Robles. Craig Milroy, Co-Director of the PRL, provided invaluable logistical support throughout the project.
Ceramics are popular with Stanford students, but studio space is limited. The Making@Stanford initiative will connect a wider community of makers and mentors throughout campus. Hideo, for example, co-teaches a class called Japanese Functional Objects, which combines woodworking, ceramics, readings, and lectures to introduce students to the tools and traditions associated with the Japanese tea ceremony. He looks forward to firing work in the soda kiln for this course and many others. For more photos of the construction, visit https://making.stanford.edu/pilot/kiln.
GRANT AWARDED FOR MUSICAL GLASS PROJECT
April Zilber has received a Development Grant from Arts Council Santa Cruz County. The grant will help pay for cold working equipment essential for fine-tuning the glass bell plates I design and fuse.
“The musical pitch or frequency of a bell plate is dependent on the dimensions of the bell plate. While empirical calculations are useful for predicting the size needed to create a particular frequency, I need to grind the edges on a flat lapping wheel with a series of diamond grit disks in order to reach the exact frequency. I’ve learned a lot from making and tuning square and rectangular bell plates and look forward to exploring several types of triangle.”
NY2CA GALLERY OPENS IN BENICIA
Vicki Gunter is the first artist invited to exhibit and will be collaborating with Greenpeace.
Grand Opening Reception
Earth Day, Saturday, April 22, 2023
3 – 6pm
Meet the artist, Vicki Gunter, and gallery co-owners Twigg and Vickie.
The show will be open April 20-June 4, 2023
Gallery hours: Thursday – Sunday 11-6
617 1st St, Benicia CA 94510
SAVE THE DATE!
Clay & Glass Festival at the Palo Alto Art Center – July 15-16, 2023
Our annual clay and glass festival is held on the beautiful grounds of the Palo Alto Art Center on July 15-16, 2023.
HOW TO POST TO ACGA NEWS AND CALENDAR
Members who want to share upcoming news, events, milestones, studio equipment for sale, shows, awards, and other craft-related items with our audience of fellow artists and collectors can now fill out a few lines on our website and get posted to our online calendar of events or our news page.
Submission Process, Learn More:
ACGA GENERAL MEETING MINUTES -FEBRUARY 13, 2023
Date of Next Meeting: Monday, March 13, 2023, 5:30pm
SEE EVENTS CALENDAR:
This space is envisioned for future listings of upcoming calendar events. Since we have only just launched the submission process in this mailing, we do not have any current events at this time. Please follow the submission process outlined herein.
Professional Kiln Repair Service
NorCal Kiln Repair- “Professional Bay Area repair service since 2006”
· evaluation & repair: ceramic & glass kilns (gas & electric)
· tutorials: operation, safety, maintenance, custom programming
· evaluation & repair: pottery wheels, pug mills, slab rollers
· ventilation repair & installation / studio safety & setup consultations
· new & used kiln recommendations / appraisals: buying & selling
· ceramics troubleshooting: clays, glaze, construction, firing, etc.
Joseph Kowalczyk (Ko-väl-chick)
kiln & ceramics specialist
510 601-5053 · NorCalKilnRepair@gmail.com
ACGA NETWORKING EXPLAINED
Address changes and Membership Changes – Please send all address changes to the membership chair EmilYanos,
ACGA’s Website – Check out our website
The home page now features an ‘artist of the month.’ Populate your own page, and update often. To create and edit your profi le page, go to the For Members menu, choose Member login, and follow the instructions to find and edit your profile.
Need a website password? Email Emil Yanos at
We look forward to hearing from you!
Follow and Like us on FaceBook (@ClayandGlass) and Instagram (@theACGA)
The ACGA News is sent through MailChimp. If your email bounces you or you have been unsubscribed, you can sign up again – contact Communications Lead Ren Lee at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join the ACGA social media group www.facebook.com/groups/ACGASocialMedia
Link to the Google group: email@example.com
To email all members via the ACGA Google group you must be a member. Address your clay/glass-related message to: firstname.lastname@example.org
There are two ways that you can engage in google groups without a gmail account:
1. Via email only
With a non-gmail email address you can still participate in all of the google group activities by replying to emailsand/or sending an email to email@example.com to start a new thread. You do not have to create any google accounts to do this. If you’re seeing this email, then you’re in the group and can respond to emails like this one that will be sent to the entire group.
More details on how to create and respond to google group messages in the FAQ!
2. Make a google account
While it’s not necessary to have a google account to participate in the google group, you can create one with your non-gmail email address to get access to the google group site, which just aggregates the ACGA google group conversations in one place that’s easy to review and search.
Board of Directors – 2023
President: Mari Emori
Vice President: TBD
Secretary: Sally Jackson
Treasurer: April Zilber
Lee Middleman, Jan Schachter, Joe Battiato, Emil Yanos, Trudy Chiddix, Cheryl Costantini,
Chris Johnson, Ren Lee, Susie Rubenstein, Iver Hennig, Sonja Hinrichson, Vicki Gunter, Barbara Prodaniuk
Communication – Ren Lee
Exhibitions – Jan Schachter
Festival Liaison – April Zilber
Festival Jury Coordinator – Chris Johnson
Historian – Cuong Ta
Int’l Ambassador – Barbara Brown
Membership Coordinator – Emil Yanos