Born in 1952, Dick has lived in northern Indiana for most of his life. After high school he traveled as a professional musician, performing in more than 500 concerts. In 1976 Dick graduated from Goshen College with a degree in Religion. During his time at Goshen College he took four classes in Ceramics, pursuing clay as a largely avocational interest. From 1976 to 1980 Dick was employed as Regional Administrator and Director of Orientation for the Voluntary Service program of the Mennonite Board of Missions. Dick was a part-time student at Associate Mennonite Biblical Seminary from 1976 to 1981.

Dick built his first ceramic studio and wood fired kiln in 1976. He worked in clay as a hobby from 1976 to 1981. In 1981 he began working full-time as a potter, opening his studio, Dick Lehman, Potter, Inc, in Goshen Indiana. Dick’s studio employed an average of 6 persons at all times: dozens of apprentices and employees over the years. The studio produced a 100-product selection of high-fire stoneware. In addition, Dick continued to woodfire, developed a new form of saggar-firing which utilizes carbon-film-transferred imagery from fresh vegetation, and pioneered a sidefiring approach which was featured as a cover story in the April 1996 Ceramics Monthly magazine. The studio produced and sold on-site nearly 20,000 pieces annually.

From the early 1990’s to 2002, on three occasions Dick traveled, studied, and exhibited his work in Japan. In 2010, Dick sold his production studio and now works primarily out of his home studio. Dick’s work and writing have been published in 9 international ceramics publications since 1985, and he has had 50 of his articles published. He exhibits in national and international ceramics exhibitions each year, having participated in more than 300 invitational exhibitions both nationally and internationally, and has offered workshops for colleges, universities, and regional potters guilds both nationally and internationally.

Dick lives in Goshen, Indiana with his wife Jolene.

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To choose pottery-making is to make so many other choices as well:

to choose learning more than understanding;

to choose marveling more than knowing;

to choose community more than individuality;

and to choose to become a receiver more than a maker.

 

No matter what this process creates…..whatever results it offers — whether capricious or consistent, cantankerous or considerate, contrary or controlled….whatever it offers, the work is always, always transformed. And so, when I employ it, am I.

 

AND GRATITUDE THE PREVAILING WIND OF THE SOUL

 

As a much younger — and may I say, more naive — potter I held, in my creative imagination a future that included a life-capturing Retrospective exhibition of my work. Perhaps you know the fantasy: major museum, mountains of pieces, monumental promotion, major collectors, millions in sales………..oops, stop the tape.

 

The genuine, and more satisfying reality is to live the life-centered life….to make, with some regularity, life-capturing work…to share with others, life-enhancing moments. I believe that this is as good as “it” can get….and too easily missed if one gives inappropriate energy to naive fantasies….and so easily found and realized if one’s eyes are open, sensitivities expectant, and gratitude the prevailing wind of the soul. This little collection of work is not that imagined Retrospective. Nor is it a cohesive body of work. Neither is it a comprehensive or exhaustive collection of my life’s work. But it is a glimpse at what has given meaning to my life and some of what I’ve enjoyed exploring over the years: works that might happily insinuate themselves into the daily lives of the users; explorations with tools — what can cheese cutters, stamps, and fingernails create; reimagining how can wheels be used to make things that aren’t round; what fun might be found in an extruder; imaginings with glazes — “What might happen if….?”; exploring firing methods — can I do something new with wood-firing, saggar-firing, side-firing?; finding and making the “indigenous” pot — how can my back yard, my neighborhood, my friendships, my travels, make their way with integrity into my pots?

 

These are some of the foci that have given meaning to my making and to my life.

 

I trust these might inspire you to find the foci that give meaning to yours.

 

Dick Lehman

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