Joy Tanner received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Ceramics at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She was a Resident Artist at the Odyssey Center for the Ceramic Arts in Asheville, North Carolina, Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts in Newcastle, ME, and EnergyXChange in Burnsville, NC. She has been a full time potter since 2004. In the fall of 2013, she and her husband, who’s also a potter, William Baker, moved into their new studi in Bakersville, NC where they currently work. She is a member of the Southern Highland Craft Guild, Piedmont Craftsmen, and the Toe River Arts Council and exhibits her work in regional and national galleries. She is also a founding member of a local cooperative gallery, Mica, in downtown Bakersville, North Carolina.
William Baker is a full time studio potter and kiln builder living in Bakersville, North Carolina. Coming from college at the University of Puget Sound in Washington, he stumbled into clay and has been pursuing this passion since 2000. He was a Resident Artist at the Odyssey Center for Ceramic Arts in Asheville, NC and the EnergyXchange in Burnsville, NC. He and his wife, also a potter, Joy Tanner, built their own studio in Bakersville, NC where they work full time. Will is a member of the Southern Highland Craft Guild, the Toe River Arts Council and exhibits his work in regional and national galleries. He was a founding member of the cooperative gallery, Mica Fine Contemporary Craft in Bakersville, NC and participated there from 2011-2015. When not handling clay or bricks he can be found hiking through the mountains in search of waterfalls and vistas.Shop for Will & Joy Online
Shop for Will & Joy Online
Integrating the way I experience the world with the way I design and create functional pottery is essential to my creativity. Whether rinsing garden tomatoes at the kitchen sink, or pausing to study wildflowers along the trail, I believe in taking time to notice the little details of life. I am just as awed by the way a leaf connects to its stem as I am the folds of a mountain range or bursts of clouds at sunset. I always view these things with an eye toward conserving and celebrating the environment that I live in. My work bears the mark of these values, resulting in uniquely designed pottery that is just as inviting to ponder and touch as it is to use and share.
I make wheel-thrown and hand-built wares for the home, including bowls, cups, plates, pitchers, vases, servers, lidded jars, teapots, and platters. My color palate features earthy reds, deep browns, soft blushes of whites, twilight blues and natural variations of pattern that result from the wood and soda firings. To pair with these tones of autumn, I add glazes of turquoise green, warm yellows, shades of golden honey, and watery olive greens to the carved areas. Glazes spread and lightly pool across textured surfaces and highlight the curve of a handle, the lip of a tumbler, or the small peak or divot on a bowl.
While I pay equal attention to form, surface, and detail, my pottery is most celebrated for its elegantly carved or pressed patterns inspired by nature. These patterns accrue a rhythm all their own as they swirl, spiral, and drape across surfaces, suggesting waving grass, ripples in a stream, stalks of wheat, terraced slopes, thistles and pods, or windblown tracks in the sand. Cradling a cup or bowl in their hands, people feel inspired to bring a sense of awareness and ritual into their lives. In the end, I hope that echoes of the natural world in my work invite them to consider the importance of conservation and conscious living.
From concept to design to final firing, my process for making functional pottery requires an intimate relationship with both preparation and chance. I embrace the challenge of creating a smooth surface free of unintentional marks. This element of control is balanced by the unknowns of firing in a wood and soda kiln. People who use my pottery on a daily basis also engage intimately with the work. This final act of appreciation enhances its beauty and brings my creative process full circle.
I make lidded jars, small bowls and plates, keepsake boxes, oval vases, dinner plates, cups, and large vessels with specific attention to minimalist surfaces that curve and swell into sturdy, yet elegant, functional pottery. Ranging in size from several inches tall to nearly a foot-and- a-half, this work always features one or more of my signature design elements: squared panels and corners that emerge softly from full-bodied curves; fat, square knobs thatbalance atop squared lids; or lipped bases and rounded rims that complete a form to its very edges.
These features enable me to create interesting surfaces perfect for highlighting natural colors that result from firing. As each piece is fired, it is subject to the whim of wood ash, flame, and soda vapor. The result is a one-of- a-kind visual landscape: varied tones of deep red, soft peach, light cream, bronze, olive green and muted gray spread and overlap naturally, fading and intensifying in swatches and pools. Up close, some pieces appear dappled or freckled in layers of color. From afar, surface patterns evoke a solar field, layers of soil, or bright patches of rock. In the end, the combination of intentionally crafted forms and an uncontrolled atmosphere for surface design brings my work to life.