Big Creek Pottery: A Social History of A Visual Idea 1967-1983

Multi-Media exhibit on Big Creek Pottery

Exhibited from March 26 2011-July 17 2011

Forty-three years ago, students “found and pursued their own thing.” They traveled West to meet their hosts, Al Johnsen and Bruce & Marcia McDougal. The McDougals took over the Big Creek Pottery school in 1970 and created an international destination. Workshops for novice and experienced artist were led by illustrious potters: John Glick, Paulus Berenson, Michael Cardew, Warren McKenzie, Toshiko Takaezu, John Reeve, Jim and Nan McKinnel, Paul Volkening, Harry Davis, Karen Karnes, Ruth Duckworth, Michael Casson, Cynthia Bringle, and Bruce McDougal.

For several weeks, they threw, glazed, built and fired kilns, and cooked, ate and made music together on a restored late 19th century, central California coast dairy ranch near Davenport, California. Big Creek Pottery School opened in 1968, perhaps the first residential school for pottery making in America’s Western states, and by 1984, its last year, over eleven hundred students and teachers had shared fifty workshops.

Guest Curator Karen Thuesen Massaro shapes this multi-media exhibition to celebrate the accomplishments of the school and to share the captivating Big Creek Pottery experience.

A limited edition DVD of the oral history interview with Bruce and Marcia McDougal by Karen Thuesen Massaro is available through the Museum Store.

Read the Ceramics Monthly article by Karen Thuesen Massaro. (Originally published in Ceramics Monthly, March 2011, pp 48-52. Copyright, The American Ceramic Society. Reprinted with permission.)

In the News

Local icons celebrated in new exhibit

Read More

Through the potter's wheel

Read More

Big Creek Pottery: fired up a generation

Read More