Kerry Brooks, on ceramics and Dock 6:
I threw my first pot when I was 26. I was just looking for a hobby, and never dreamed it would lead to becoming a professional potter. I took my first class at the Ann Arbor Art Association while studying other things at the University of Michigan. Then I started selling pots about 5 years later, and by 1995 was making a living as a potter. I was the very worst one in my beginning wheel-throwing class, but I didn’t care because it was great fun and I loved it.
I moved to Minneapolis in 1993 to begin a graduate program in another field, but took classes at the Northern Clay Center to continue on with my hobby. It was there, for an intermediate wheel-throwing class, that I made a few tabletop fountains. They were a big hit with the other students in the class and the classes around us. So I decided I’d make a few and take them to an art fair to see how they did. I took 25 fountains and sold them all. That’s when I knew I was onto something. I started making water fountains as fast as I could and they sold well for several years. By 2000, the fountain craze had died down, so I had to shrink my business too. Luckily, by that time, I’d made thousands of fountains so I’d become a much better potter. I set out to grow my business back up, and have been expanding steadily ever since.
As Dock 6 Pottery has grown over the years, I’ve had to evolve into a business manager and not just a potter. Interestingly, however, this same growth has actually made me a better potter. As time for creating has become more precious, my priorities for what I want to make have distilled and clarified. I take more time to think, sketch, and prepare for what I want to make so that every minute I have at my wheel counts.
Seeing someone use something I made is the best feeling in the world. Making beautiful things people will use everyday is what inspires me the most and drives me to make new things. I think of every cup, plate, and coaster as a small piece of functional art. Bringing affordable art to everyday people is what keeps me motivated and makes my soul happy.