Reduction-fired stoneware bowl, 23" x 5"
Michael Rutkowsky of Pond Branch Pottery found his calling early in life. After graduating in 1979 from the University of South Carolina with a Master of Fine Arts, he roved around the upstate for a few years before settling in Burnsville. The area, rich with both natural beauty and a history of arts and crafts, helps inspire his work. Rutkowsky creates a wide array of pottery forms with a nod to nature, displaying intricate designs while maintaining functionality. For this piece, he used his hands to give a custom swooped pattern, dipping each finger into a thick glaze placed in the center and dotting the glaze toward the rim. His use of reduction firing unifies the clay and slips, creating a cohesive, yet textured, surface after his hands are done molding the piece. “That’s when all the magic happens,” he says. Rutkowsky offers tours of his studio by request, and his work can be found at Seven Sisters Gallery in Black Mountain and Heartwood Gallery in Saluda. www.rutkowskypottery.com