Cary Joseph
Cary Joseph Pottery

The deeply beautiful rock surfaces in the gorges around Ithaca have been my inspiration for the last decade. I’ve explored these textures in most of my current work with deep-fissured, organic textures that are amplified by long wood firing times and the subtraction of any glaze on the outer surfaces.




Cary Joseph Pottery, 302 Hook Place, Ithaca, NY 14850


Take 79W over the Cayuga Lake inlet and start up the hill. Take the first left onto Sunrise Rd.; go up the hill until the road ends at Taylor Place. Turn left onto Taylor Place and take Taylor Place to the end where it T’s with Hook Place. Park on Taylor and take the steps and path to the corner of the house. The gate for the backyard and my studio is there, follow the path through the garden to my studio and kiln shed.


I have been a studio potter since 1990 starting at Mudflat Pottery Studio in Somerville, Massachusetts and for the last 12 years, here in Ithaca. From my first sessions at the wheel I have approached ceramics as an artists’ medium. My working methods and overall approach are influenced in particular by previous decades spent as a jazz bassist. Among other lessons, I took to heart the way the great jazz innovators continued to push into new territory, took artistic and commercial risks, and stretched their mediums’ boundaries. I have tried to bring this sense of experimentation and innovation to my work as a ceramic artist. My goal is to sense and nurture the living essence of each piece I am working on, and this remains the most important part of my approach, what makes the process feel most alive, challenging and exciting to me.

Currently my focus is on wood-fired stoneware that has been thrown, stretched and/or altered, where the fire and ash are allowed to act on every piece in a unique manner. I fire only two or three times a year, and because wood firing is a communal event (the firings last from two to five days) it is a true collaboration with other potters, the loaders and stokers, and most importantly, the kiln itself. I have learned to embrace the unpredictability of wood firing, the astonishing surprises and delights and even the inevitable disappointments. Opening a kiln after all the work that goes into making the pieces, getting the wood ready, the days of loading and firing, is an experience that is unique and unforgettable, the potters version of giving birth!

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