We met while attending the Kansas City Art Institute where Phil majored in painting and Gail majored in Industrial Design. We both minored in ceramics with Ken Ferguson and pottery became our love.
In 1978 our talents were put to use when we founded River Hill Pottery. Over the past thirty years our interest has shifted from wheel throwing to hand building. Using coils to lattice developed into weaving the coiled pieces. The first coils were hand rolled individually, but as the experience of weaving the clay developed the focus shifted. We began working with extruded clay, which gave us the opportunity to create our own dies and spend more time with weaving patterns. Developing molds that we could weave over, has led us to the forms and shapes we now use.
Not only are our baskets unique to look at but you can also bake in many of the shapes. The open weave has people wondering, but it works and looks great.
Phil’s signature series and Gail’s miniatures are one of a kind pieces that have unique extrusions and weaving patterns. These limited baskets are signed and dated.
As the demand for our woven baskets has grown, so has River Hill Pottery. Today our woven baskets can be found in numerous shops and galleries around the country. Our baskets have been published in Handbuilt Ceramics by Kathy Triplett, Extruded Ceramics by Diana Pancioli, Ceramic Extruding by Tom & Jean Latka and 500 Baskets by Lark Books.
THE NEXT CHAPTER… OUR ADVENTURE
After attending an Oprah workshop in 2003 we both were inspired to push our dreams to the next level. So when the universe presented and opportunity for us to buy into an artist loft project created by Eric Rudd www.eclipsemill.com we were ready.
The project resulted in the purchase of two lofts in the Eclipse Mill, an old cotton mill located in North Adams, MA. This old cotton mill has been redesigned into spaces for artists to live and work. One 2500 sq. ft. loft houses our studio and gallery while a second loft designed by our son Jason is our living quarters with a private gallery. As a result, our lives have been busy with the move from Ohio to Massachusetts, while producing our newest collaborative baskets, dishes, tiles and more.
On a personnel note, our sons and their wives have given us six grandchildren. Voss, Ravenna, James, Bradley, Nathan and Daniel have become our greatest blessings.