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My first experience with clay was as a child. There was a surface deposit of clay in the woods near my childhood home in northern Minnesota. I remember spending hours in the spring and early summer playing with and getting stuck in this odd gray material. By late summer it would dry out, it was intriguing to see how the clay had recorded my earlier sessions with it. There would be perfect hand and footprints, places I had fallen and struggled to get up, preserved almost timelessly. In many ways little has changed, now as then, the marks that I make in clay have the potential of being preserved indefinitely.
In my work I am committed to the use of local materials. I use clay that I dig less than a mile from my Nebraska studio and home. The wood that is used to fuel my kilns comes from trees that grow within walking distance. The ash that remains from the burning of corn, soybean, and oat straw, becomes the glaze I apply primarily to the interior of my works. The exterior surfaces of my work is rarely glazed. The clay is left bare both to preserve the marks of making and to record the passage of flame and fly ash during the five to seven day firing.
This process creates a wide range of effects. I am most awed by the seemingly subtle pieces that can take months of use to reveal themselves, like a story that must be forgotten before it can be appreciated. It is my hope that the eventual caretakers of these pieces will find these stories and intertwine them with their own.

~John


Big Table Studios ~ 17171 County Road 25 ~ Herman, NE 68029 ~ (402)456-7669