Bob Kulchuk


Have you ever picked up a piece of pottery and felt an immediate connection to it? Perhaps it fits your hand perfectly, or the weight is just right, or the surface texture and color are what appeal to you. Whatever the reason, whether you can identify that reason or not, there is no denying when you feel an emotional connection to a piece. It is this feeling that I strive for in my work. 

 I make primarily functional, wheel thrown work that is designed to be used everyday. Within this context, I am always searching for new and different ways to challenge the "roundness" of items thrown on the potters' wheel. I employ various techniques to push and stretch the clay or texture it to create a sense of movement and individuality in each piece.

 One of my favorite aspects of working with clay is the surprise one gets when opening the kiln after each firing. I am constantly experimenting with different surface texturing and glaze colors and each new kiln-load provides a new surprise. Rather than try to control every aspect of the firing in an effort to get the same result over and over again, I relish every opportunity to let randomness and fate play a role. I often layer several glazes to see what magic the kiln can create. 

 It is this love of randomness that drew me initially to saggar and pit firing. I love the idea of firing naked pots with random combustible materials to create pieces with random patterns and colors from the firing. Each piece is truly one of a kind. I am fascinated by the permanence of pottery. I am always amazed that we are able to take a ball of malleable clay, throw it on the wheel and craft it into a vessel which, when fired, will be around for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years. When I think about my work within this context, I only hope that I am able to draw upon the endless inspiration of all those artists that came before me and hopefully impart some influence on future generations of potters.