Artist of the Week: Rene Sprattling of Nevada City |

Artist of the Week: Rene Sprattling of Nevada City

Career/title: Potter

Describe your art: Handmade functional pottery.

How long doing it? Started in high school 42 (heavens!) years ago.

Why do you do it? It’s compelling … and I don’t draw well. I loved making mud pies as a child.

What do you hope to accomplish? Right now I am creating a body of work for the Banner Mountain Artisans Show and Sale this November.

Does my art convey a message? Functional art, through intimate physical use, is one way to integrate beauty into our daily lives. It is one way that I can reach out and touch the lives of others. I imagine someone cradling my cup, sipping their coffee or tea. I have touched that soul in some very real fashion. I have been involved in their life process, and they in mine.

Any special training required? Oh heavens, yes! A good instructor can save you years of major frustration … watching lump after imperfect lump of clay fly off the potters wheel onto the floor or your foot. To be a truly good potter takes many years of practice and patience, bringing many life lessons along the way. Detachment is a big one.

Favorite part? That would be throwing (or turning) the clay into it’s vessel form.

Least favorite part? Hmm … it’s a toss-up between wedging the clay and batching the glazes. One is very physical, the other very mental, especially if you are creating a new glaze formula.

Time it takes? A production cycle can take 4 to 6 weeks depending on the size of the kiln, the number of pieces in each cycle, and the humidity of the season, which effects drying time.

Is it hard to do? The first few years, yes, but now for me, throwing and trimming a pot is like meditation.

Other comments: Former co-owner of Mostly Clay, I am a now a new member of the Banner Mountain Artisans. Our holiday art show and sale is going to be at the Nevada City Elks Lodge Nov. 8 and 9 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (

My studio mates and I will be having our own holiday sale at Studio 540, 540 West Broad St. in Nevada City the last weekend in November. For information call (530) 277-1510.

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