Dick Aerni and Carolyn Dilcher-Stutz
Carolyn Dilcher-Stutz has loved and cared for animals her entire life. The daughter of a professor of Ecology, she grew up in the countryside, surrounded and captivated by the local flora and fauna. Often accompanying her father on his field trips, she became thoroughly grounded in the importance of the interrelationships between man and the other living things surrounding him. She has a B.S. in Ecological Science, and has spent 25 years in the company of animals, working in, and then managing, a veterinary hospital. Since turning fulltime to her art in 2006, she has been sculpting in clay and capturing the spirit of the animal world in her sculptures. When you purchase one of Carolyn’s pieces, you are taking home a bit of her affection for the creatures who share our space.
I came to clay by accident. After a New Year’s Eve party in the early 1970’s, the room in which I had been told I could sleep turned into a gallery of wood-fired pots at first light. The colors and textures of the glazes captivated me. A couple of years later, when I found some free time from the restaurant in which I was part owner, I took a class at the local pottery…six weeks of Tuesday nights, 6-9 pm…it was enough to hook me. Though I have no formal education in clay, or art for that matter, I have managed to make my living as a potter for over thirty five years. It has been my good fortune to share the company and talents of many an accomplished potter on my journey to competency in clay. All of them have left their mark on me, as have the many mistakes and false starts I have made along the way. Eventually I discovered the processes that have marked the parameters of my work—ash glazes and single firing. I feel in tune with the patterns and textures the ash creates, and the decision to single fire led me down paths which have greatly influenced the way that I visualize, form, and finish the pots. The look of the ash glazes has not paled over the thirty years I have worked with them. They have changed along the way, and change still, and that search for, and exploration of their nature is part of the joy and challenge I find in clay. I work alone in the studio, doing everything from unloading the clay off the truck to packing and shipping the pots as they come out of the kiln. The rhythms of the studio, the pace of potting, are things that I have grown accustomed to and love. The lifestyle of the potter, where the work never stops, but which also leaves time to cook, garden, and attend to the many details of family life, is one of the great benefits I enjoy. The knowledge that the pots I make go out into the world, into the lives of those who choose them, still leaves me with deep feelings of gratitude and humility.