Please introduce yourself:
My name is Ronnie Kohrt. I’m a new member of the Colorado Potters Guild and the owner and artist of Ugly Mug Pottery, LLC. Pottery has been a big part of my life for the past 15 years. It’s such a passion and love of mine. I’ve always felt clay is the most difficult medium to work in for many reasons, as it’s a direct representation of your mind, creativity and skill. The clay does what you want it to do. It’s going nowhere. It’s this incredible challenge that fuels me daily with clay as pottery is such a unique medium that is never perfected. Each and every piece is solely unique to itself and the beautiful inability to perfect or replicate pieces fascinates me.
How many years have you been a member of the Colorado Potters Guild?
I’m a new member of the guild! I started in the fall of 2016. Growing up in Denver while being involved in art, the Colorado Potters Guild was always a studio I had my eye on to possibly join in the future and now that it’s happened, I couldn’t be happier!
What does it mean to you to be a member of the Colorado Potters Guild?
It’s very much an honor to be included in the guild with such a surrounding of incredible talent in pottery. As the youngest member of the guild, I get to speak pottery with folks who share that same passion with many years of knowledge. Having this pool of knowledge and experience is such a blessing, particularly with my great mentor, Dick Howell! All the members of the guild are very welcoming and I’m very blessed and thankful to be a part of the guild.
How many years have your been working with clay?
15 years in total. I began working in pottery at the age of nine. My very first pottery teacher is actually a fellow guild member, Penny Woolsey! She opened my eyes to pottery and I’ve been hooked every since.
Do you have a formal education in clay/art or how did you acquire your skills?
I spoke about this previously, Penny Woolsey was my very first teacher in pottery. I was nine at the time and I was hooked from the first class. I began taking work shops with other artists as I grew in age and now being apart of the guild, just learning from other artists with the many skills they bring is a blessing.
How do you work (techniques/glazing/firing methods)?
I spend almost all my time on the potters wheel. Creating mugs, bowls, dishes or anything you can think of. That’s the beauty, you have so much versatility in the creation process. Adding faces, handles, flowers or other sculpted pieces to the pot later are also some of the things I love doing. I concentrate on cone six work, which is a certain temperature of firing, however very excited to work more in cone 10 work with the guild. I enjoy playing around with glazes and a technique called ‘Nerikomi,’ which is a Japanese term for mixing two colors of clays in a pattern or swirl-like design. I love the complete random uniqueness to each individual piece. Much like a snowflake, they are all the same concept, but couldn’t be any more different from piece to piece.
What does “being creative” mean to you?
“Being creative” is to assert your mind to a medium and to be yourself. Pottery many times is an extension of yourself and is an opinionated and truly unique industry where the beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What inspires some, may drive others. What is beloved by others, could be inspiration for some. Being creative isn’t about meeting a quota, or standard. It’s about expressing yourself through your medium and enjoying the time while doing it. Because if you don’t enjoy it, you’re just working then and not being creative.
What kind of creative patterns, routines or rituals do you have?
I don’t follow routines for one main reason, to naturally create pottery when I feel inspired. I don’t believe you should ever force your mind to make things in pottery. By doing this, you take away parts of the creative side and substitute it for a quota. This restricts the ability to be creative, which is one of the main reasons to participate in art!
How do you overcome obstacles or difficulties working in clay?
Sometimes, and this ties in with the routine topic, your mind just isn’t there. Artists need to take a break after time to get away and re-inspire yourself. It happens to the best of us all, but after some time away, maybe a vacation or good time with friends and family. The ‘bug’ comes biting back to get creative again in the studio. You can’t take the art out of the artist. It keeps coming back for more!
Do you pursue any themes in your art work?
I admire earth tone colors. Reds, blacks, browns and darker deep earth tone mixtures that catch my eye, with also a strange random love for deep blues. My Japanese background probably is a big influence for me because of this is a big theme among Japanese pottery.
Who or what inspires you?
I try to find inspiration in everything. Just recently I was passing through a mall and saw some interesting glass pieces, shaped in such a way that drew my mind to thinking how I could do the same with pottery. I also find lots of inspiration with the many pieces I see daily at the Colorado Potters Guild and via social media sites like Instagram, Etsy, Facebook and Twitter.
Where do you see your work progressing over the next year?
I hope to see my pottery being displayed in more local coffee shops and galleries moving forward. In just a short time, I’ve already found a couple pieces now being displayed in coffee shops locally and I hope to increase this in the future!
Where can people find your work?