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  • Sandra Cesca

Love Playing with Mud?

While visiting Eugene, Oregon last summer, I had the chance to sit down with my good friend and longtime potter Brian Gorrin. I wanted to know more about the inspirations behind his work as well as the various techniques he uses. If you are curious about what it is like to be a successful potter, read on as Brian shares his experience with us!

He has been playing with mud and clay ever since his early years growing up in rural New Jersey. His mother was a ceramics and crafts teacher which inspired him to keep going with his early interest. He began with classes that focused on hand-building techniques such as pinch pots, coils, slabs, and sculptures. Eventually, he mastered the art of “throwing” clay on the potter’s wheel which has been his main focus ever since.

What types of pottery do you create?

I do a lot of functional ware, various sized bowls, cups, mugs, sometimes plates. This is mostly what customers want. For fun, I do wheel-thrown sculptures, usually fountains. I create multiple components, such as arms, legs, torso, heads, then construct the parts into the final fountain. I really enjoy problem-solving, how to create the working fountain, while figuring out how to make it structurally.

What inspires you?

The idea that I can make pretty much anything out of clay and all I have to do is figure out how to make the idea work within the physical and structural limits of the clay. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t!

Where do you get your ideas from for your unusual fountains?

There’s no one answer to this question. Nature offers water sounds, the human figure, clay to play with. Also, I live with Jann, my model and muse who often inspires my sculptures and unique fountains.

What about glazes?

Glazing is not my strong point. I have taken a couple of classes and developed some of my own glazes, but I mostly use recipes created by others, some from my undergraduate ceramics professor which she gave me as a parting gift when I graduated. Some are from studio cohorts. Most glazes I use are high fire (cone 9-10, @2300-2350+ degrees Fahrenheit) although I have used lower fire glazes (@2230 Fahrenheit) on occasion.

Where do you show/sell your work?

I live in Eugene where I am one of about 35 members of Club Mud Clay Arts Co-op, where I create all my work. I have a fairly small operation and sell at our local Saturday Market, the oldest continuously running vender made craft market in the US for the past 50 years. We also have several other seasonal venues including Art and the Vineyard, Clay Fest and an annual member show at Maude Kerns Art Center. I also do commission work for private clients.

Contact Brian at Mud Pie Ceramics for more information: or by phone, 541-914-9925.

His website is under construction.

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