Paddy McNeely, Ceramic Artist

A life-changing experience occurred while I was attending N.E. Missouri State. A visit to Iowa State University introduced me to the Master Potters, Paul Soldner and Peter Voulkos. This was my introduction to the world of clay and upon returning to Kirksville, I enrolled in my first clay class with Dr. Marvin Bartell. This changed my educational focus from Political Science to Clay, Design, and Photography.

A few years after graduation I visited Ireland, my ancestral home. I then traveled to the Pacific Northwest and fell in love, settling in a Seattle neighborhood, where my home and studio are surrounded by a wooded greenbelt. A perfect place to make pots. 

The inspiration for my work comes from my life in this community, combined with a deep admiration for the pottery of ancient Japan, Korea and the Native-Americans of the American Southwest. 

My ceramics are about form and glaze. Flower containers, serving pieces and lidded vessels are my specialty. To accentuate form I use one signature glaze, a cone 10 reduction fired matte black. Dyed willow is used for basket handles and bamboo for handles on lidded jars, stacking containers and lanterns. Harmony and strength are the core of clean lines and form in my work. 

Over a 45 year career as a potter, my work has evolved from stoneware to porcelain. I love throwing pots and the feeling of clay in my hands. Firing the gas kiln is still exciting. I start the firing in the late afternoon. As darkness falls and the temperature climbs, flames appear through openings in the bricks, casting an other world glow into the night. Watching this happen is thrilling. Firing gives the pot a soul.