The Reluctant Potter | Andy Williams | Episode 839


Andy Williams | Episode 839

Andy Williams is 43 years old and from the SF Bay Area. Andy has been a teacher of visual arts for 16 years and full time ceramics the last two years. Andy had not worked with clay in high school, but now it’s all he thinks about. Andy is now working towards the point where he feels comfortable selling.


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What was one thing that you were surprised to rediscover about ceramics?

I don’t know if it was a rediscovery but I noticed immediately a shift and that was when I was a kid I wanted to make art to say something and the idea of functional work to me then seemed hokey, I guess, and now it makes all the sense in the world.

What’s your favorite skill to teach your students?

You know it’s funny, I really do enjoy the step by step of slab building, making boxes and things with lids and stuff like that and it’s funny because very, very few students for some reason enjoy the slab building. I’ve tweaked it every year. I had a kid this year say, This is my favorite thing I’ve made.  And I said, Oh, thank you. Can you write that down and put that on the wall somewhere? 

Has it been helpful for you to discover and connect with other ceramic teachers to be able to get curriculum built?

Immensely. Immensely. Being in the same boat, you know, absolutely is very, very helpful and then trying to…we all have to do the same kind of…every body’s got to hand build, everybody’s got to coil, everybody’s got to slab, you’ve got to work your way through all these essential skills. And then finding ways of doing that to keep kids hooked and interested that is one of those things that is really, really helpful, kind of the brain-storming sessions that you get going through.

What is one thing that peer group showed you that made a light bulb turn on in your brain for how you teach your students?

I think probably it’s going to be that whole thing about shifting clay to mid fire work. I didn’t understand the huge difference in terms of functionality and how low fire stuff will probably degrade over time if you put it in the dishwasher or whatever and I wanted things to be permanent.

What does a teacher do for entertainment during your down time?

When I can weasel some time in on a T.V. I will play some video games every now and again. I’ve been doing that my whole life, but kids get in the way sometimes. And I have been, the last few years, making major shifts to make my life healthier and so pandemic forced me to get out of the house and run and that was a major life changer for me. And right now I am just constantly researching. I am looking for a mug handle. I am looking for an inspiration. A thing that I see that I am not going  to rip off but that I am going to alter.


Paperback East of Eden Book

East of Eden by John Steinbeck 


Instagram: @blacktoothpottery


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