Reviving Mud


The beautiful, all-knowing, Angelica Fabian mixing clay from scratch.

Written by Alice (the potters’ daughter)

The last post from Clayworks here on our blog, Mud was in 2013. I’m not sure what happened in 2014, but I know why there were no posts in 2015, ’16, or ’17. In 2015 my parents became grandparents, and a few months later my dad was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. We lost him in 2016. Our personal lives, and our Clayworks lives, were shattered.

There were times we wondered if it might be better to just let it all go. Clearing out forty years of Clayworks (forty years of my dad) from our East Sixth Street galleries was too much to bear. There were days when everything came out of the kiln all wrong: things cracked, glaze colors were off—and we didn’t know why. There were projects where we simply gave up and refunded customers.

There were days we brought hand-written formulas to Armadillo Clay and asked them to help us decipher what materials, exactly, my dad had written down on the back of this scrap of cardboard taped to the (now empty) glaze bucket. Please help us, we said. And they did. So many people did.

Thank you artisans of East Austin. So many of you served as resources in our first year doing this on our own.

We’ve streamlined our glazes and our products, nearly all our firings have been good this year. Angelica knows our clay materials like the back of her hand, Stewart knows what goes in the glazes. We have a new website, and things today are relatively quiet (in a good way). Our galleries are leased to the energetic, creative guys at Volcom, and we work in the old studio out back. Interesting work keeps coming our way, and Stewart, Angelica, and my mom have taken on custom projects and more.

We have spent the last two years building ourselves back up, and we are ready to launch our new website, reconnect via our newsletter, and revive our blog, revive Mud.

We are glad to still be here. We think my dad would be glad we stuck it out too.

John Gray at the wheel -Bill McCullough Photography

Photo of John Gray at the wheel by Bill McCullough




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