McDowell, Douglas

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Douglas McDowell,
Wildwood Pottery,
Beach Park, Illinois


Artist Statement:
I learned about pottery from my grandmother who was an antique dealer/pottery collector. I use latex, bare clay, underglazes and glazes to create pottery with vivid colors. Functional pottery that is touched, used and admired is the best compliment.

Studio Description:
I work in a Jr. College studio with 25+ others. We have 20+ wheels and lots of hand build space. We use 2 large Cone 9 gas red kilns, 3 large bisque kilns and 1 Cone 6 ox. kiln. We use 23 cone 9 glazes and 12 cone 6 glazes. We have 2 FT instructors.

What type of clay do you use?
Porc. and Stoneware.

What temperature do you fire to?
Cone 6 Oxidation and Cone 9 Reduction.

What is your primary forming method?
Wheel throwing.

What is your favorite surface treatment?

Do you make any of your own tools?

What one word would you use to describe your work?

What is your favorite thing about your studio?
Interaction with others.

What is the one thing in your studio you can’t live without?

What are your top three studio wishes?
That I could have a retail outlet or shop.
My wife and I could share a studio built just for us.
That we could have our own kilns.

What’s on your current reading list?
Architectural Digest.

How do you save money on materials and supplies?
Reuse, reuse, reuse. Also, a tool, design, idea can come from anything/anywhere; Be open.

How do you recharge creatively?
I play golf, collect antiques and hike. I also like to cook and eat out a lot!

Do you have any DIY tips for studio efficiency?
Make at least 6 of whatever you are attempting to make. Some will be good, some bad and some ugly. Learn what YOU like from the process experience.

What challenges have you given yourself to overcome?
I am not a drawing artist. I use geometric designs to create pottery decorations that the user finds visually appealing and physically attractive.

What did you first piece look like?
Overweight, thick and pretty primitive, but I thought is was amazing. I still have my first piece.

What ceramic superpower would you have and why?
To be able to paint flowers and natural plants like old Weller Pottery. I love nature/natural beauty which is everlasting.

Who is your ceramic art mentor and why?
Silvia, a 90+ year old ceramic history antique dealer who inspires me to keep going with my art.

What is your studio playlist?
All Rock and Roll! Esp. Supertramp and the Rolling Stones.

Why do you create art?
I get such satisfaction out of the idea that someone wants a piece that I have created and will use it in their daily lives.

What is your best studio tip?
Constantly try to be organized and have a plan to be executed/accomplished. At times this is not easy to do.

If you could change one property of clay, what would it be?
Make it pliable and stiffer to throw larger pots.


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