Say Potter and You Are Okay

In an interview for the book Adam Silverman Ceramics from Rizzoli about whether he sees his clay work as art or craft, Adam Silverman answered, “You just say ‘potter’ and then you’re okay.” I think that’s the perfect answer to a tiresome question.

Silverman, who began potting at the age of 15 studied architecture at RISD, worked as an architect in the late eighties and early nineties, and then designed fashion before turning to clay full time in 2002.  Today he runs Atwater Pottery in Los Angeles in association with the historic Heath Ceramics. He has been the studio director for Heath since 2008.

The book opens with dramatic photos of Silverman’s pots by Stefano Massei. There are many close ups of his cratered and fissured glazes and full page portraits of his vessels. Next, is a section of duotone photos by Katrina Dickson of Silverman at work, his studio, and his installations. These are nicely arranged in a collage-like manner. Dickson’s photos are my favorite part of the book. She conveys a sense of how Silverman works and where he works, giving us a glimpse into his creative life. Six brief essays follow. The paper in the essay section and with Dickson’s photos tears easily, which is not a good thing for a visual book whose readers will presumably want to turn the pages multiple times.

Silverman is known for the volcanic quality of his glazes in pinks and whites and browns and blacks. The glazes are three dimensional, rough, and rock like. A branch of cherry blossoms or a spray of foxglove would look nice in one of his pieces but otherwise they are best left to stand on their own.