I still remember my first ceramics-focused potluck. I was an undergraduate student studying ceramics and one of my professors invited students and faculty over to her house to entertain a visiting artist. It was my first introduction to a professional ceramic artist’s serving collection. Handmade dishes filled open-air cupboards, blanketed tables, and dotted counter tops. It was a feast for the learning eye, and then there was the food! Oh, how spectacular a potluck can be when the attendees are potters—people who love to cook and dress food up in their best pots.
This got me thinking about the potluck in all its incarnations, from church basement to neighborhood block parties. How did the bring-a-dish-to-share tradition begin? And why is it called a potluck? The word pot-luck was coined by 16th-century English author Thomas Nashe in his book Strange Newes, “food provided for an unexpected or uninvited guest, the luck of the pot.” The modern interpretation of the communal meal, where guests bring their own food, most likely originated in the 1930s during the Depression—a theory developed by contributor to the Chicago Daily Tribune, Flora Martin, in her 1933 article.
This latter format, bringing food to share, is where ceramic artists really shine. But these gatherings are more than group meals. They create a sense of belonging to people who may otherwise not feel connected, they link people with a common passion that they are eager to share, and they foster meaningful conversation. In a nutshell, they create community.
In every issue of Pottery Making Illustrated, it is our mission to gather a community of makers with a desire to both teach and learn. Each page is filled with stories of inspiration and encouragement for ceramic artists of all skill levels. To celebrate PMI’s 25 years in print in 2022, we are hosting a potluck! This potluck will take form as an exhibition in print of makers sharing their best functional pots. Details of the “Potluck” exhibition are below. Please join us!
If you are looking for inspiration, the projects and techniques in the following pages have you covered. This issue delivers new ideas in glazing, mark making, Chinese brush strokes, stamping, masking, and more. And be sure to check out Pottery Illustrated, filled with potluck dish ideas to both submit to the contest and to make for your next ceramics-focused get-together. Cheers!