John Garland and Mary Paul, Potters

John and Mary, are ceramic artists who create individual and collaborative low-fire, functional, earthenware pottery out of Freechild Studios in Knightdale, North Carolina.

Colorful, artistic and often whimsical, their thrown or hand-built pottery is alive with pattern, design and vibrant color inspired by nature and figurative forms.

As potters John and Mary work to give form to the creative spirit within. Their hope is that our creativity will speak to others through these forms and their pots will make people smile.

John and Mary received the 2011 Dino Read Foundation Award at the 42nd Annual Fine Designer Crafts Show in Raleigh.

John Garland and Mary Paul

Our goal as potters is to give form to the creative spirit within. Our hope is that our creativity will speak to others through these forms.  We strive to make pots that make people smile.

We see clay as a medium through which we can express our personal experiences.  To the extent that many of these are universal human experiences, we give a visual voice to those who find a message in our imagery.  We choose our imagery for its ability to stimulate memory, sensory experience and imagination.  These are the intellectual and physical connections between our pottery and people.

As we learn new methods and techniques, these lessons are distilled over time and find their way into our pottery.  The visual dialog between our pottery and the consumer becomes increasingly refined and meaningful.  We create forms that are pleasant to touch and cover their surfaces with images that trigger imagination or memory; images that make people smile.

When our creative spirit elicits a joyful response in another individual, we feel that we have achieved our goal as artists.

Over the years, John and Mary have worked in a variety of ceramic styles. Surface decoration and color have always been a passion for John while Mary enjoys exploring the potential of hand-built forms. Their individual styles have brought them to the perfect collaboration of form and surface.

John began studying pottery making in North Carolina in the 1980s.  He attended classes at Montgomery Tech, Penland School and the NC State Craft Center as well as apprenticing with several state potters. Mary, originally from Wisconsin, studied pottery in Milwaukee at Alverno College where she focused on creating art pieces in stoneware.

A workshop at Arrowmont Craft School brought Mary to the south and to John, another perfect collaboration. John Garland and Mary Paul have shown their work in North Carolina and in Wisconsin at galleries, shops and art fairs.