As a little boy growing up in the country, Joseph Sand loved to scoop up clay in the root cellar and form little cubes with it. It wasn’t until his early 20s, though, that he knew he would one day make his living as a potter.
Born in 1982 and raised outside the small, southern Minnesota town of Austin (pop. 24, 718), Joseph excelled at art at an early age. He stored Play-Doh for his creations in the family’s broken dishwasher and learned to draw hockey players and other athletes while studying with a sports illustrator.
After graduating from high school in 2001, Joseph went to the University of Minnesota-Duluth. He planned to study graphic design, but after feeling detached from an art form that required him to use a computer, Joseph changed his mind. In 2006, he earned a BFA in general studio art with a ceramics emphasis.
Prior to graduating college, Joseph studied art for one year in Cortona, Italy, through the University of Georgia-Athens. It was there that he sat at a pottery kick wheel in a 12th Century building and knew instinctively how to center clay. His future career was born.
Back in the States, Joseph received the very competitive Katherine E. Sullivan Scholarship from the University of Minnesota. He used the scholarship to study art and design at the University of Wolverhampton, England.
During his time in England, Joseph heard from other potters about Mark Hewitt, an English potter who lived in Pittsboro, NC. While back in Minnesota at Christmastime, a potter he knew had completed an apprenticeship with Mark and suggested Joseph do the same. Joseph talked with Mark over the telephone, and then flew to North Carolina to meet him the following week. After three days, Joseph was offered the three-and-a-half year apprenticeship under the master potter.