16 oz. mug and 16 oz. tumbler, dark stoneware clay, underglaze, vinyl stencil. Photo: Hossein Noorazar.

I am an enthusiastic and nerdy potter based in Moscow, Idaho. I am known in my Palouse community for “always having something new.” I am an explorer who is never satisfied with the same ol’ same. Many of my pots are experiments, thrust into existence by the mantra “I don’t know . . . it could be terrible! But I’m going to find out.” I challenge myself by practicing a new technique every couple weeks. I create pottery that is utilitarian and designed to stand up to everyday wear and tear. Although my product is physical pottery, community and bringing the joy of handmade objects is the end goal. Process photos: 1–3 Hossein Noorazar; 4–6 John Hillman

1 Cut and apply a newsprint stencil to a leather-hard clay form using a slightly damp sponge. 2 Apply layers of underglaze to the base. These layers can be blotchy to allow the richness of the clay to come through.

3 Spray underglaze over the slip. I used Amaco’s Sprayz, but thinned underglaze in a sprayer will work. Then bisque fire. 4 Wet sand the top layer to reveal the layers of slips, then wipe it down with a damp sponge. Allow the pot to fully dry.

5 Apply a layer of black underglaze wash, then gently wipe away, leaving as much or little as you like. Fully dry the pot. 6 Add a sticky vinyl stencil. Brush with underglaze, allow to dry, and apply clear glaze to the decorated surface.