Featured Artist Sheila Blunt

My first pottery class was at Penn State as a required class in my undergraduate years in Art Ed. It was exciting to get my hands on the clay and the wheel, but in those days we learned on an old fashioned kick wheel which was tricky! It took me a long time to get a finished product that I could be proud of. We had a young, nutty teacher who had us mixing large vats of clay by stomping on it in bare feet! He also used to throw balls of clay at a pot while it was being thrown if he didn’t like it. He was the epitome of the tough drill sergeant, but I also had a great clay experience, which I brought to the classrooms that I taught in over the years (without destroying students pots!!)
I taught painting, pottery, sculpture, design and anything else that could be called art in secondary schools in New Jersey and Long Island for almost 40 years, before and after getting my masters at Pratt Institute.
My love for The Potter's Wheel goes back to 1979 when the studio was on Queens Boulevard. I was pregnant with my second child when I discovered a great place to create pottery close to home!
Previously, I was studying with Seema Kamrass in Soho. I began my long association with The Potter's Wheel, starting under the ownership of Sandra Pine, continuing with owners Peggy Simmons, then the move to Kew Gardens, continuing with Sue Sendek at the helm, and now with Grace Anker.
I used to spend my summers enrolled in “workshop time” during all the years before my retirement in 2000. The minute I walked in the door, someone would say, "Sheila’s here! I guess it’s summer!" How wonderful it is that I’ve now been enjoying pottery all year round at my second home.
My style also formed and evolved during my years at The Potter's Wheel. My pots were often a little crooked (some things never change), hence my email address: rockypots.
I decided early on that there is no such thing as too much surface decoration! My pots usually have texture or cutouts or sculpture or handles. I love to make handles. Sometimes, an understated pot slips into my repertoire. But whether my pots are simple or elaborate, I’m always looking for “graceful”.
I also believe that an artist should take risks; lots of them. When you’re a beginning potter it is tempting to stay with what you do best, but after you have accumulated many pots, it’s time to get out of your comfort zone and push some boundaries. My pottery may look like it's done by different artists, but that’s only because I keep going back to previous motifs, giving them a new twist.
I’m now on a mission to improve my throwing skills, which means throwing away more formative pots than usual, so fellow potters, I’ll see you near the recycle bin at the Potters Wheel.