FEATURED ARTIST: JACOB REINSTEIN

Tell us a little about yourself, how you came to clay, what inspires you and any advice you might have for someone new to the art form.

After a brief career in advertising left me feeling creatively unfulfilled, I was in search of a new outlet of expression. I wanted something different than what I was used to, and thought working in 3D would be a fun way to re-examine my process.

I chose ceramics because I had little to no experience with it, and it just felt so far out of the range of the academic or commercial art world that I felt so bogged down by.

From the first time I touched clay I was immediately transported back to a time of childlike learning and progress. Every pinch, roll, and slap was teaching me a new technique and I could feel the wellspring of creativity opening up and flowing again. I was solving more and more puzzles every day dealing with balance, construction, and applying many of the lessons this new medium was teaching me to my daily life. I became hooked on the sensation of overcoming a set of problems, reaching a new plateau, and surpassing it at a rate I hadn’t felt since I was a very young child.

It took me very little time before I began to overcomplicate and overreach and I began to feel that old gnawing feeling of frustration because my pieces were taking much longer than I would have liked to complete or were becoming gigantic overwrought hulks that were failing before I could get to the end.

Thankfully, this was right around the time when I was asked by Grace if I would be interested in teaching a kid’s handbuilding class at The Potters Wheel.

Seconds after the whirlwind of creativity in our first lesson had finished I stood awestruck looking over the table at the dazzling array of finished pieces my new students had dizzyingly churned out and realized that I was not the teacher here but a very grateful student.

As I admired the huge range of improvised pieces each child had created that day I realized I had been approaching my own work the wrong way. From that point on I’ve always tried to remind myself to approach my work with the same fearlessness, joy, imagination, and self expression that I watched my students pour into their own work.

Since that day my work has been imbued with an energy and vitality that I could not have discovered on my own, but was generously shared with me through my amazing students.

NOTE FROM GRACE:
Jacob is our beloved, energetic and immensely creative teacher of The Potter's Wheel kid's classes. During the year you can find him here happily teaching (and learning from) his students on Sunday mornings. He will also be teaching our special summer MUDFEST kid's classes and our Kid’s and Their Grown Ups classes starting in July (see above for all the class details).
Come on by, say hello and take a look at his wonderful work.