A Bit About Van T Potter
Susan Van Tubbergen, aka Van T Potter, specializes in one of kind miniature ceramic pottery and sculpture. Each piece is wheel thrown, trimmed, kiln fired, sanded and glaze fired, just like a full size piece. Pottery styles range from classical to modern to playful and whimsical. Susan is an artist member of the IGMA and a NCECA member. Her work has been featured in magazines and in an upcoming book.
Raised in a family of artists, I’ve always been interested in many different expressions of art.
I’ve taken classes in painting, sculpting, ceramics, glass blowing and lampwork, each one adding to my total understanding of form creation and space manipulation. I’ve made miniatures since childhood, always fascinated by re-creating something in Lilliputian scale.
My father worked at a museum and was always eager to share details of the latest exhibits, ancient artifacts, treasures from distant countries. I spent a great deal of time in that museum; it was an escape to other worlds. Perhaps that’s where the love of miniatures started.
I throw on both full size and miniature pottery wheels, off the hump and directly on the wheel head. For miniatures it’s a little more difficult to use your hands, I’ve developed a lot of my own tools and techniques. I also like to use paint brushes to add details.
All my pieces are one of a kind, I do not use molds. Pots are trimmed, fired, sanded, glazed and re-fired, just like full size pieces. My favorite clay is porcelain. It is translucent, strong and relatively easy to throw. I strive to make delicate, thin walled, detailed vessels that are well balanced and have an appropriate glaze for miniature scale. I also alter thrown pieces and add hand sculpted details to create whimsical animal forms. I like creating collections of pottery. I did a series of 50 pieces, that I called the” Cairo Collection”. They were all based on ancient Egyptian artifacts. I admire the archival value of pottery, there are pieces that have been dug up in China that are over 20,000 years old.
If I could give an aspiring miniature potter advice, it would be to practice every day. Malcolm Gladwell opines that expertise requires a minimum of 10,000 hours of practice. This is best expressed in any artists' failures. Only after a minimum number of failures does the creative process begin to emerge, to become muscle memory. I’ve put in my 10,000 hours, had my share of failures, and I continue to learn and perfect.
I am an artisan member of the IGMA and a NCECA member. I’ve been featured in the Miniature Collector magazine and have an upcoming article in Dollhouse Miniatures. Several of my pieces were in a show in New York, called the BadAss Exhibition, by D.Thomas Fine Miniatures. I will also be featured in a book called "The Book of Mini: Inside the Big World of Tiny Things" releasing April 16, 2019.
I continue to push the limits of clay in miniature, always trying new designs, experimenting with different clays, glazes, glazing techniques and firing methods. It seems the possibilities are endless. I hope that you will consider one of my pieces for YOUR collection.