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Daryl McCracken


What clay body do you use?

"Stoneware"


Primary forming method?

"Wheel"


Primary firing temperature?

"Cone 10 reduction"


Favorite surface treatment?

" If there were no limits of time, space and money I’d go back to firing with wood as I love the ability to ‘paint’ with fire using creative stacking to control the surface of the clay.
As having a wood kiln inside the city of Houston isn’t practical, I really look to my wood tools (stamps, ribs…) to leave marks that reinforce the plastic quality of clay and create edges for the glazes to pool and break on."


















Favorite Tools?

"I’ve been doing a lot of CAD design and using my 3D printer to play around with new ways to apply design to the surface of my work.  It’s been a lot of fun trying to find ways to combine these two disciplines together."




Describe your studio environment.

"It’s a super tiny (100 sq ft) space so I have to stay 100% focused on efficiency and optimization of space and my production cycle."






























How/Where do you market and sell your artwork?

"I work directly with small businesses to create custom lines of mugs and dinnerware.  In addition, Etsy has become a great tool to drive sales.  Recently I have also become organizer of a local pop-up makers market."












What sparks your creativity? What drives you to work with clay?

" Two things fuel my creativity.  Getting in the studio regularly is the primary driver.  Each batch of work always leads to new ideas, pushing current forms in new directions while trying new shapes, techniques and surfaces.

I also try to take time away from the studio and explore what others are doing.  This is less about following potter’s specifically and more about simply absorbing the explosion of creativity at our fingertips today.  Everything from furniture and architecture to photography and design can serve as inspiration.  I also run regularly and am inspired by the little details I see in nature on my long runs."              












Did you come to ceramics from a different career? Tell us about your journey to a ceramics career.

      "I actually wanted to be a painter initially.  But at 18 I realized I didn’t really have any life experiences to use to carve out my niche in painting.  It was clear I probably wouldn’t become the next Richard Diebenkorn.

      Ironically the fact that ceramics was the cheapest in school had some small influence as well.  The lab fee was $30 / semester in ceramics while in painting we had to buy all our paint, canvas and brushes.   If only I had thought about the cost of kilns back then!
      Once I got into the chemistry of clay and glaze formulation, the engineering of constructing functioning teapots, the skills needed to build kilns and the community aspect of making and using functional work I was totally hooked on clay."













      How have you have taken your experience as a well-established maker in the field and passed that knowledge along to your other artists?

      "When I left school my goal was to teach.  What I didn’t consider was that there were very few positions a lot of competition and you couldn’t pick and choose the location.  Most cities have one college ceramics program (if any). 

      Houston Community College was my first full time teaching role, but it was only a one-year position.  After it ended I decided to stay.  The weather, cost of living and diversity were very attractive but more importantly I knew I needed to stay in one place in order to focus on my work.   I continued teaching part time at HCC, Montgomery College, the Glassell School and through private lessons.
      While I stopped teaching quite a few years ago, I have continued to help former students, offer advice and expertise in-person and through online communities.
      In addition to teaching, I was very fortunate to be in the right place at the right time when fellow artists Tom Perry and Lebeth Lammers and I decided to try and formalize the very scattered community of clay artists in the area.  That partnership resulted in ClayHouston."








      What’s the best advice you’ve been given by a fellow maker, mentor, or teacher?

        I’ve been very fortunate to have interacted with so many artists.  I think one of the most important things I was told was that in order to be an artist one’s work has to be seen.

        The other thing which working 20 years in business has taught me is that the saying ‘innovate or die’ is as true to the art world as it is to the business world.  There are so many avenues to create today.  If you keep making the same thing, you’ll be copied, passed by and become irrelevant."













        Website URL and other social media platforms:

        www.bayoucitypottery.com

        www.bayoucitypottery.etsy.com

        https://www.facebook.com/bayoucitypottery

        https://www.instagram.com/bayoucitypottery/

        https://www.pinterest.com/bayoucitypotter/

        Bio:

        For over 20 years Daryl has been working as a studio artist and teacher.  After completing a Master of Fine Arts degree at the University of Illinois where he was honored with an Excellence in Teaching award, he taught at Parkland Community College before migrating to Houston. 

         He served as an adjunct professor of art at Houston Community College as well as holding teaching roles at the Glassell School of Art, and North Harris Community College. In addition to teaching, he shares love of ceramics through lectures, workshops and kiln design and construction consulting.

         Daryl focuses on functional and sculptural stoneware vessels, producing custom dinnerware for local businesses as well as exhibiting in national juried shows.

        Last but certainly not least, Daryl was co-founder of a grass-roots clay organization – ClayHouston – designed to organize and promote Houston area clay artists in the community.

          clayhouston

          Address:
          PO Box 667401
          Houston, TX 77266

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