ABOUT MARK ROSSIER POTTERY
My work is slowing down.
I first wrote, “my work is about slowing down.”
It is, but that is only part of it.
As a fledgling potter I apprenticed myself to production potters. I was being paid well to get pots made efficiently. Numbers. We were always counting how many were done in how much time. In one pottery where I worked, our crew was paid bonuses based on the number of first quality pieces we produced. It was an enjoyable competition and I took pride in being fast.
I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything. I tell students all the time that if they want to learn how to make pots, they should make the same pot over and over again to understand the subtleties of that form. Get quick at it. Don’t overwork a piece, make another.
Once I was in my own studio, my goal was to create a pipeline of lots of stores and galleries that needed to be filled. At one point, I was supplying a list of about fifty shops. This was back in the heady late 1990’s when the wholesale craft show was an economy unto itself, and there was money to travel to the shows—and basically no commercial internet.
I made some really nice pots in that time. I truly believe that any potter’s best work surfaces from a steady stream of pieces coming out of the kiln. But I was still creating work around my ability to produce it efficiently. Then the economy started to unravel, quietly, right about the time we realized we are not invincible and insulated from the world, like it or not. Shops closed and it was more cost efficient for store owners to stay home and purchase online. Then the economy ground to a halt, and I necessarily had to slow down. Way down.
I went to great lengths to keep my studio open, keep money coming in, and make fewer pots. What I found, as I made myself slow down, is that I started paying attention to different aspects of my work. I cared about details I hadn’t cared about before; I started to see layers and depth. My pieces had always been talking to me, but I was finally hearing them.
Then two significant shifts happened in my work: in 2019 I built my first guitar in a ten-day intensive class with Edward Dick at the Colorado School of Lutherie, and in 2021 I had Justin Lambert build me a wood/soda hybrid kiln. Both of these changes required a true commitment to slowing down and paying attention to details of the pieces I produced and how I finished them. The firing process of a soda kiln takes time and concentration, and the effort demands having only the best pieces in that kiln. A guitar also requires a step-by-step exercise in patience, attention to detail, and the willingness to believe that "good enough" really isn't. But the finished pieces from both of these endeavors are so stunningly rich in what they give back to the user, that the processes have become a mission and a profound joy.
I wanted to make every-day functional pots, right from the start, because I believe that pottery as an art form has a unique ability to make the routines of our lives less mundane and more enriched. Pottery gives us the gift of connecting us, and slowing us down, when we use it. I needed to slow down for my sake, and for the sake of my work. Now, in the words of fiddle maker Sam Zygmuntowicz, I care more and more about less and less. If I slow down, then perhaps others do, too, to appreciate what I’ve made. And if they do, then I have succeeded in my work as an artist.
Selected Juried and Invitational Exhibitions & Publications
Cheers! Drink Up! Commonwheel Artists Co-op, Manitou Springs, CO. 2020-2023.
Cup: The Intimate Object, Charlie Cummings Gallery, Gainesville, FL. 2021,
Invited Artist 2022
Radius Gallery Ceramic Exhibition, Radius Gallery, Missoula, MT. Invited Artist. 2018.
La Veta Gallery on Main, La Veta, CO. Featured Artist, June. 2018.
Beyond The Brickyard, Archie Bray Foundation. Helena, MT. Juror: Josh DeWeese. 2017.
Carbondale Clay Nat’l XII, Carbondale Clay Ctr, Carbondale, CO. 2017, 2019.
Uncommon Clay, Arts Longmont Gallery, Longmont, CO. Juror: Jonathan Kaplan. Best Of Show. 2016.
Strictly Functional Pottery National, Lancaster, Pennsylvania. 2016, 2019.
Good Things…Come In Small Packages, Genesee Center for Arts and Education. Rochester, NY.
Juror: Doug Peltzman. 2016.
Drink Me: Cups, Mugs & Tumblers, University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, CO.
Juror: Sebastian Moh. 2016.
Uncommon Clay, Arts Longmont Gallery. Longmont, CO. Juror: Kim Dickey. 2015.
Artist In Residence at BreckCreate, Breckenridge, CO. December 2015.
Plinth Gallery & Anderson Ranch: A Ceramic Collaboration, Denver, CO. 2011.
Craftforms, Wayne, PA. Juror: Jane Milosch, curator of the Renwick Gallery at The Smithsonian. 2010.
Boulder Open Studios, Boulder, Colorado. 1995 – 1998, 2001 – 2023..
Longmont Studio Tour, Longmont, Colorado. 2003 -- 2018
Dining In III: An Artful Experience, 18 Hands Gallery, Houston, Texas. 2010.
Open Studios Art Fair, Boulder, Colorado. 2009.
500 Pitchers, Lark Books, Asheville, NC. 2006.
American Crafts Fair at the Lincoln Center, New York, NY. 2006.
American Craft Council Summer Show, San Francisco, California. 2005.
Holidazzle, Louisville, KY. Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft. Phyllis George, Founder. 2005
Craftforms, Wayne, Pennsylvania. Juror: Melissa G. Post, Curator of Craft & Design,
The Mint Museums. 2004.
Strictly Functional Pottery National, Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Juror: Susan Peterson. 2004
American Craft Council Winter Show, Baltimore, Maryland. 2004.
Buyer’s Market of American Craft, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 1996 – 2004.
Clay Art 2003, Saratoga Springs, New York. Juror: Regis Brodie. 2003.
Arvada Center Holiday Exhibition, Arvada, Colorado. 2003, 2004.
American Hands Gallery, Judaica Show, Chicago, Illinois. 1999.
Signature Galleries, “Memories” Judaica Show, Boston, Massachusetts. 1999 – 2002.
Boulder Arts & Crafts Cooperative, Boulder, Colorado. 1995 – 2002.
Exhibitions including: Judaica, Teapot, Lamp and Lighting, and Garden Shows.