4. Mark Skudlarek

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Mark Skudlarek, Potter, Cambridge Wood-Fired Pottery

Born in 1959, and raised on a dairy farm in central Minnesota, Mark began potting in the early eighties while attending St. Johns University near his hometown. He then traveled to the traditional pottery center of La Borne, France where he was introduced to wood-firing techniques. After working with several potters who fired wood-burning kilns in the region, he returned to the United States and apprenticed for four years with Todd Piker here at The Cornwall Bridge Pottery. It was here also that he met his British born wife, Gaea, whose grandfather, father and brother are all potters. In 1988 they were married and established a pottery in a community well known for its salt-glazed stoneware.

The pots created at Cambridge Wood-fired Pottery are the result of a traditional, labor-intensive process. The firing requires a crew of six and takes three days to complete, during which time the kiln develops a voracious appetite, consuming eight cords of wood. Constant attention and care must be taken not to over- or underfire the ware. Either could lead to bittersweet results, possibly jeopardizing several months of work.

Mark has built a reputation for producing functional kitchenware and garden pots that are a part of homes throughout the US. The functional art pottery is interactive, but this only appreciated once these pots are finally used in your home. Mark's work is perfectly safe in your oven, dishwasher and microwave. However, never subject your pottery to any drastic changes in temperature (e.g. from the refrigerator directly into the microwave or a hot oven). Avoiding "thermal shock" will warrant that your wood-fired pot will last for generations to come.

The Cambridge Wood-fired Pottery Workshop and Showroom are located one mile west of Cambridge on Highway 12/18. Please phone (608) 423-4507 if you're planning a trip.

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