Alan Bennett, Potter

Alan Bennett and Rosemary Bennett are North Carolina potters who create amazing stoneware clay or porcelain fish sculptures inspired by childhood experiences in and around water.

They start with a series of sketches. Then the basic body shapes are sculpted, manipulated, hollowed out and added to. Porcelain eyes and teeth are added.  After bisque firing the pieces, layers of slips, stains, and glazes are dipped, sprayed, and brushed on. The pieces are then fired to 2300 degrees.

Alan received the 2011 Craftsmen Choice Award at the 42nd annual event in Raleigh.

Alan Bennett and Rosemary Bennett

When Alan was five, he caught a bluegill. He thought it was so beautiful that he kept it in his pocket where his mother found it several days later when she did the laundry. When Rosemary was little, she spent many happy hours fishing with her grandmother in Smithfield, Maine. It was a big deal when she caught a fish. Rosemary is happiest swimming or snorkeling.

Experiences in or around the water and growing up with Jacques Cousteau specials strongly influence our work. The process starts with a series of sketches. We use stoneware clay or porcelain to make the basic forms. These forms are manipulated, hollowed out and added to. The teeth and eyes are made out of porcelain. The pieces are bisque fired. Glazes are applied by dipping, spraying and by brush. The pieces are then glazed fired. The work is about form, expression, color, texture, and movement.

There are three basic ways we glaze our pieces:

Fish Glaze: This magnesium carbonate glaze shrinks more clay body during the firing process. The finished glaze has a dry scaly texture with pastel color.

Raku: A technique from an ancient Japanese tradition. The pieces are pulled out of the kiln when they are red hot and smothered with sawdust. The end product has a variety of blacks and grays in the clay body and elegant crackle patterns in glossy glaze that tend to have rich, bright colors.

Crystal Glazes: Specially prepared glazes, high in zinc, are applied to porcelain pieces. They are fired to 2300 Degrees, Fahrenheit, and then “soaked” at a lower temperature for three hours or more. This creates an environment conducive to growing crystals in the glaze. The end result is amazing combination of crystal shapes, colors and sizes that never come out the same way twice as the crystals are always different.

Alan received an MFA in Ceramics from Ohio State University and a BFA in drawing and painting from Arizona State University.

Rosemary has a B.A.E. from Ohio State University. Alan and Rosemary met at OSU in 1980. Alan worked as a designer and technical consultant for El Palomar Ceramics in Talaquepaque, Jalisco, Mexico. We started this business together in Bath, New York, as full time clay artists since 1990.