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Confessions of a chatty artisan: Potter Diehl admits that he talks to his clay


The Register-Herald

Jeff Diehl is the award winning master potter at Lockbridge Pottery in Meadow Bridge.
(Register-Herald photo by Jenny Harnish)

Having built his pottery business and pursued his creative craft at his rural pottery studio in Lockbridge in Summers County for 38 years, renowned potter Jeff Diehl has come clean. He talks to his clay. Most days, he does his talking with his hands. In advance of his latest show this Saturday and next, Diehl answered a few questions via email.

Q: So, please, tell us exactly what you mean when you say you talk to the clay.

A: My hands encourage the clay to become a bowl. If I have added the correct amount of water to the dry clay, have wedged out the air and made the clay consistent, kept the wheel at the appropriate speed for the amount of clay – faster at the beginning, slower for finishing – kept the clay sufficiently lubricated to avoid any dry catching while pulling the clay thinner, then my hands and the clay successfully communicate and a bowl is made.

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