You only need to chat with long-time Master Potter Scott Goewey for a short while to get a glimpse of how multi-faceted he is: “I am interested in the tension and movement of line and mass where shapes are manifestations of energy and presence without words, where one may be touched. An invitation to dance, this juxtaposition of line and mass, strength and delicacy, may create a whole beyond the sum of its parts. Can spirit move through and inhabit mass and weight, the exhalation from above to density? How may this be gathered, contained, experienced? I have been mixed and wedged, centered, shaped and fired. I am still looking.”
Goewey’s education includes the Poetry workshop at the University of Iowa, and The School for American Craftsmen at the Rochester Institute of Technology, where he studied pottery with Frans Wildenhain, a Bauhaus-trained German potter and sculptor, and Hobart Cowles, a master of glazes. He has received several grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. His work has appeared in several national publications, and he has been referenced in numerous books and exhibition catalogs.
He has given public poetry readings in New Mexico, New York, Arkansas and Oklahoma, and in 2004 published a volume of his poetry entitled, ‘This Vessel’. From his combined experience of pottery and poetry he says, “My pots are vessels intended to hold something. The human body is also a vessel created to contain and exchange very fine materials. Being anchored to the earth by the very physical aspect of making pottery, and the requirements of the craft, I have learned to recognize and value what it is that may fill us.”
Goewey has shown his work throughout the United States, as well as in Faenza, Italy, and Nagoya, Japan. His pottery is found in many private collections in the United States and beyond, and is also represented in the permanent collections of the Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York; the Historic Arkansas Museum, Little Rock, Arkansas; the Memorial art Gallery, Rochester, New York; the Gannet Corporation’s corporate headquarters; and several other venues.
He clearly has a special relationship with his tools and materials: “There are periods that, if anything works at all, I will follow it until it no longer works. Then, begin again. There are periods in which I am overjoyed to see only one substantial pot emerge from the kiln, possibly touched by mystery, a physical embodiment of a living question.”
“My pottery is fired in old kilns long past their decline, probably considered to be junk by most people. These children of mine—my pottery—are fired in a ceramic container that is held inside one of these old kilns. There is an envelope of space surrounding this container which will heat up and gradually ignite the combustibles that are in direct contact with the pottery. I stack and stagger the pots inside the container in such a way that encourages the movement of flame across and around the pottery.”
“The fire is fueled by horse manure, cedar, and sometimes tropical hardwood shavings, as well as other recycled materials rescued from local sawmills. Sometimes I soak straw, the skeletons of cholla cactus, wood shavings and other plant materials in a copper sulfate solution. These are dried, and then placed in proximity to a pot that will receive flashings from the volatile materials as it burns in the fire. I am interested in the imprint the fire has on a pot. I search for a fusion of form, function and flame. It is the kiss of the unexpected that one may recognize and embrace or it is a slap in the face. Ephemeral as the flame I work with, I burn and have been burned.”