Nathan Willever, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The US Mid Atlantic has a history of ceramic production dating back centuries with lead-glazed slipware and salt-glazed stoneware. The accessible deposits of iron-rich clay available in the area are no coincidence, as the abundant supply of materials facilitated such industry in the region. Carrying on this tradition, each pot made today by Nathan Willever uses local, wild clay and glaze materials from the Stancills Inc. mine in Perryville, Maryland. He digs, processes, tests, and refines this red clay by hand in a conscious labor that allows his fired ware to reflect its place of origin.
Long enticed by the folk pottery of Japan, Korea, and Europe, Willever combines ties to historical and cultural craft traditions with contemporary perspective. The materials and reduction firing processes he employs result in vibrant bursts of flashing that are directly inspired by Japanese gohonde (firefly spots) pottery. These spots, paired with slip applied in sweeping strokes of a brush or by confident pours circling a form, guide the eye around each pot and make the hands reach out to grab it for closer, more tactile examination.