Paul Craighead

More than forty years have gone by since I started making pottery. I grew up in Northern Italy, lived in Atlanta for thirty-five years; moved to my mother’s home-place in NW GA a few years ago. My maternal grandmother taught me landscape painting with oils. My paternal grandmother taught me leather and tool copper tooling. I took several independent-study pottery classes at Georgia State University, but am mostly self-taught. I cut my teeth in the trade while running a cottage pottery industry in Cabbagetown, Atlanta, in the early 70’s.
I now teach several weekly pottery classes at the Rockmart Cultural Arts Center. 


When I consider the artistic influences regarding my pottery making, I clearly admire the folk traditions of the common people more than I do court productions. Korean, Japanese, and Chinese peasant wares from around the year 1000 CE have been a strong influence. Living as I do in rural NW Georgia I am surrounded by the pre-industrial pottery tradition of producing farm objects, such as jugs, churns, and other simple, sturdy containers. I’ve visited with Lanier Meaders and Bill Gordy.


My preferred clay is a buff stoneware body I mix up and fire to cone 10 (2350 Fahrenheit) in an updraft propane-fueled kiln. Several times a year I throw raku parties for friends, family, and students.

In addition to traditional functional ware I enjoy producing modern sculptures mixing clay with other materials such as electricity, moving water, and metal, and acrylics. I often collaborate with artists of other disciplines, such as writers, and calligraphers, and painters. I find that alternating quickly made functional pieces with more time-consuming conceptual projects gives me a satisfying rhythm of activity.