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Jack Troy

American, b. 1938

Paddled Porcelain Pot

9.25 x 6.75 x 5.75 in.
Gift of the Nora Eccles Treadwell Foundation

Jack Troy’s main ceramic production process is wood firing, and he has built many kilns over the years. In particular, he favors the sloped Japanese anagama kiln. “When I came under the spell of wood firing,” he has said, “I soon was discovering unimaginable results every time we unloaded the kilns, and this kept me interested in the countless ways in which ‘success’ must be constantly up for grabs; never codified or made too predictable.” His Paddled Porcelain Pot shows features of his wood-firing technique. Its glaze is due to the natural ash and the Shino glaze used during the firing. The resulting effect is a play of contrasting shades of color dripping around the vessel.

As well as being a ceramist, Troy is also a writer. He has published poetry as well as two books, Salt-Glazed Ceramics (1977), and Wood-Fired Stoneware and Porcelain (1995), and many articles on ceramics, with particular focus on the wood-firing process. A dedicated teacher, he taught at Juniata College, Pennsylvania, for thirty-nine years and has given hundreds of lectures and workshops. His exhibitions sometimes include poetry readings.

Calling the Planet Home (2003)
by Jack Troy:


I have picked up, moved, shaped,
and lightened myself of many tons of clay,
and those tons lifted, moved, and shaped me,
delivering me to this living-space
I wake and move about in,
space perhaps equal to that I have opened and enclosed
in plate, cup, bowl, jug, jar.
I am thankful no one ever
led me to the pit I’d help to make in Earth,
or showed me all the clay at once.
I’m grateful no one ever said, There.
That heap’s about a hundred fifty tons.
Go make yourself a life.
And oh, yes, here’s a drum of ink.
See what you can do with that.
I wouldn’t have known where to begin.

Sara Eco Conti, PhD.

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