GR Pottery Forms owner Jeff Rottman to Demo at CSC on October 12
GR Pottery Forms Demo at CSC on October 12
Sometimes the artist creates by inspiration and sometimes it all boils down to plain old problem solving. Jeff Rottman spent a decade working as a production potter and selling his work at art fairs throughout the mid-west. Always seeking ways to improve his product, he developed wooden forms that he used to systemize his process and standardize his product. His search for a better technique blossomed into the founding of his company, GR Pottery Forms, in 2014. Rottman will demonstrate the use of his forms at Ceramic Supply Chicago on October 12.
Rottman’s product is an ingenious mixing of the creative with the practical. The basic forms can be used to create a variety of hand-built functional pieces. Aside from the advantage of providing a consistent form, they support the drying process and help with attaching a foot. The forms are made of medium density fiberboard (MDF), which allows for a very smooth edge and surface. They are available in a large variety of sizes and shapes.
Not complacent with his invention, Rottman continued his tinkering and came up with special forms that can be used in conjunction with the wheel. For circular pieces, his WA, or Wheel Attachment, System enables the potter to combine the accuracy of the wheel with the consistency of the form. “Many hand-builders are afraid of the wheel,” he says, “but I find that the WA system helps them to overcome their hesitation.”
As Rottman continued to show and sell his work in the art fair circuit, other potters began to take interest in his technique. “People were coming up and asking about it and wanting to buy the forms,” he says. In 2014, he set up a booth at the NCECA conference in Milwaukee with over 300 of his forms. “They sold out the first day,” he says, “and I figured I guess I really have to do this.” “This” was starting a business, which now has 50 distributors in the US and 10 overseas. “Just this week,” he says, “I have orders from Qatar, South Korea, and Russia.”
From potter to inventor, Rottman is now an artist/businessman. He travels regularly each month, doing demonstration and workshops. He says that he has transitioned out of necessity. He had been running a studio – Grand Rapids Pottery – for several years where he offered workspace for 36 members and taught classes. Just recently, he sold the studio to the members. Alternately, Rottman maintains an active online presence. GR Pottery Forms sponsors online pottery sites, such as Jessica Putnam’s www.clayshare.comand Paul Blais’ www.thepotterscast.com. In many ways, Rottman’s life encompasses the fullness of his early talents. As a young man, he majored in Marketing at the University of New Mexico, where he took enough courses in ceramics for a minor. An economic downturn led him back to pottery, which ultimately led him to the right brain/left brain balance he enjoys now in his role at GR Pottery Forms.
At Ceramic Supply Chicago’s Saturday Workshop, Rottman will present two sessions of the same program so that participants may choose either a morning or afternoon time. He will demonstrate the basic form technique, along with the WA System. The morning session runs from 10:30 to 12:30; the afternoon, from 1:00 to 3:00. Contact Ceramic Supply Chicago for more information or to register.
Read more about GR Pottery Forms at https://grpotteryforms.com.