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John Scott, Potter

Students of the great Hamada would gather for the master’s opinion of their work. He inspected each piece carefully. Invariably, He’d say, “It is a nice pot, but but it isn’t good.” Crestfallen each student returned to the potter’s wheel to try again. John Scott, hears the master’s voice every time he touches clay.


John graduated from UCLA in 1960. While there he studied ceramics. Upon graduation he started a retail pottery business on the west side of Los Angeles. Together with a friend from UCLA, he began his work as a potter. At first his work was “nice.” Through collaboration with his friend and colleague John became a strong potter, throwing as many as 8 large, intricate pots in an hour. He also traveled extensively learning techniques in Africa, China and from the indigenous peoples of Oaxaca in Mexico. At some point, John became a master in his own right.


When asked whether he takes inspiration from sculpture, painting, architecture or others potters, he’ll merely scoff at you. John doesn’t call himself an artist or even an artisan. In his eyes, he is simply a potter. “i”m not driving an aesthetic, I’m just making pots.” The goal is in the form of a smooth, well-made pot. Everything else is nonsense. Do not speak to him of the Internet or iPhones. There is little room in his life for these modernities and he can hardly work them. His passion is making pottery and connection to an art form that has been in existence since 3000 BC.


“It is moving. if you can feel that, great. If not, do something else.” — John Scott, Potter

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