Brad Tucker

I came to Cedar Creek Pottery in 1980 to seek an apprenticeship with Sid and Pat Oakley.

I had just graduated from the Pottery Production program at Montgomery Community College, and I was eager to begin my career as a craftsman. I was told that Sid and Pat often took on apprentices and that they were wonderful people. Fortunately for me, both of these turned out to be true. I worked as an apprentice for two years, producing a line of functional ware that Sid had designed. The Oakleys were very generous with their knowledge, teaching me the finer points of throwing, attaching and pulling handles, trimming and finishing feet, developing and refining form. Of course, I also had to mow the grass, watch the shop, maintain and clean the studio and kilns and occasionally round up the chickens when they broke out of the coop.

After a summer session at Penland School, I returned to Cedar Creek, rented a studio from Sid and Pat, and began my life as a potter. It was very difficult transition. The first kiln I fired, with my own work in it, was a total disaster. By some cruel twist of fate, a video crew filming a documentary on Cedar Creek was on hand to record my anguish as I removed my dry, brittle, unsellable wares from the kiln. Gradually, things got better and I benefited greatly, not only from watching Sid and Pat produce their work, but from seeing work come into the sales gallery from potters all over the country.

Over the past twenty years, I have concentrated on making functional pots that reflect back on some of the traditional wares made in North Carolina. I fire in a gas kiln using stoneware clay and my glazes are composed mostly of wood ash. The forms are sturdy and simple and each piece is designed to bring many years of useful, as well as visual, enjoyment.

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