Here is a brief autobiography:
I was born in the middle of the century, in the middle of Long Island, NY. My education as an artist and a craftsman began in a backyard sandbox.
At the age of 13, my family moved to Manhattan, and I began making ceramics and studying figure drawing. I attended The High School of Music and Art, where I concentrated on printmaking.
I went to Rhode Island School of Design, majoring in Ceramics (BFA '74), studying with Norm Schulman, Jun Kaneko, and Wayne Higby. A workshop at RISD taught by Don Frith (author of "Mold and Modelmaking for Ceramics") was my introduction to plaster work for the ceramic industry.
In the summers during high school and college, I worked in my parents' business, a small general contracting company specializing in high-end commercial interiors in Manhattan. I worked with an extraordinary team of European-trained carpenters. The lessons in craftsmanship learned on these job sites were as valuable as my academic education.
After RISD, I went on to graduate school at California State University, Fullerton, (MA,'77), studying with Jerry Rothman and working as the studio assistant. At CSUF I had the opportunity to make large-scale pottery and ceramic sculpture.
Following grad school, I returned to NYC and set up a studio in Long Island City, where I made ceramic art work. I also did construction work, museum and gallery installation work, and taught ceramics for eight years, at City College, Pratt Institute, and, primarily, in the New School/Parsons program.
In 1980, I became the assistant to W. Geoffrey Meek, an experienced custom mold maker in NYC. I had made molds as a student, but in Geoffrey's shop I learned the professional craft.
In 1983, I began to work on my own, concentrating on design and model making for ceramics and glass. I have been a full-time, freelance designer, modeler, and mold maker ever since.
In 1989, after series of studio/homes in Long Island City, Brooklyn, and Westchester, our young family (my wife Margaret Shirk, and our sons Nathaniel and Max) moved to Delmar, NY, a suburb of Albany. We bought an 1889 farmhouse, with a two-car garage for a workshop. In 2007, I built a large addition to my shop, creating a wonderful 1,500 sq. ft. studio, with facilities for working in plaster, ceramics, wood, metal, and drawing. The house is across the street from the Helderberg/Hudson Rail Trail.
In addition to commercial work, I continue to be active as an artist, making ceramics, collages, drawings, and prints. I've exhibited in numerous group and one-man shows locally.
Other activities and interests include: the ongoing renovations to our 1889 home; Tai Chi Chuan (student of Sifu Jiang Jianye since 1995); canoeing, kayaking, sailing, and wooden boats.
Recent Shop Talk
How to design molds for slipcast plates, platters, shallow bowls and similar forms
Solo show of Prints, Drawings, and Collages at the Bethlehem (NY) Public Library
A suite of collages with Jokers
A few selections of figure drawings from recent years.
Three shapes for Rookwood/Mottahedeh
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