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Alan Willoughby
Deptford, NJ

Artwork Details
Whiskey Tumbler Set
Wheel thrown and handbuilt white stoneware clay decorated with terra sigillata and glaze, fired to cone 11-12 in a wood /salt kiln.
5” x 8” x 5”

Alan lives and makes pots in southern New Jersey. Since his 2016 retirement as the Executive Director of Perkins Center for the Arts (Moorestown & Collingswood, NJ), he has returned to the studio full time and is branding himself as a re-emerging ceramic artist and educator. Alan's work plays within the worlds of function and sculptural form. It includes wheel thrown and hand-built components, working with both additive and subtractive processes. Surfaces are multi-layered and include embellishment in the wet clay, painting and wax resist on greenware, and slip trailing and glazing on bisqueware.

For the past fifteen years his work has been fired in a Noborigama wood kiln built as a community resource for artists and students in the region. Alan has an MFA in Ceramics from Clemson University, has been awarded two Artists Fellowships by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. His work and writings have been featured in Ceramics Monthly, Ceramics Art & Perception, Ceramics Technical and Studio Potter. His work has been shown in galleries around the country and is in many public and private collections.

Alan writes: "I am drawn to clay because of its tactile and physical properties. It is a welcome respite from our early 21st century world of mechanization and super technologies. When I work in clay, when I work with the primal elements of earth, air, water, and fire, there is a connection to something deeper and stronger, more primal. On days when I enter my studio, I leave behind the violence, the pollution, the global warming, and the consumption propagated by our modern-day icons and begin a quest to understand the deeper meanings in life, the connections to all things. In this journey I seek a balance between the idea and the function, and enter into a creative dialogue with the stars, the wind, the mountains, the trees and all living things.

"These pots are fired in a wood kiln. Firing with wood is a purifying ritual. It is the "trial by fire" of ancient myths, a process engaging full thought and sense, a collaborative effort between man and fire....feeding wood to the fire, the flame licks a pattern across a brushed slip decoration and ash falls upon the shoulder of a pot with glaze turning copper green as heat irreversibly transforms clay and minerals.... And to open the kiln door several days after the pots have cooled and we have rested, are moments filled with intense anticipation and excitement.

"I have always loved function. How things look and how they work. These pots were created to be used and enjoyed. It is with use that their life is renewed. And when they are used, as clay pots were being used hundreds and thousands of years ago, let us, the maker and the user, remember our connection to these other times, to these other peoples, and have reverence for this miracle, which is life!"


Alan Willoughby is currently featured in:

New Work in Clay + Recent Paintings
Alan Willoughby & Keith Ragone

Arts & Innovation Center at Cumberland County College

Now - November 19, 2017

321 N High Street
Millville, NJ 08332

Gallery Hours:
Monday to Friday 10 to 9
Saturday 11 to 7
Sunday 11 to 5