I have juried a lot of shows in my 45 year career, but always with other jurors. We might discuss the pots or not, accept or reject them. It was always a group effort. When Charles picked me to be the sole judge, I thought this would be easy. I could run through the pictures and the eight winners would jump out at me.
I was so wrong . 95 pieces, 95 potters, all with their own singular aesthetic. 95 ways to say "Vase ”.

The work was really wonderful. I went through the pots four more times on four different days. I narrowed them down to 24, then 12. Then I printed out those 12, so that they could be compared simultaneously.
Stoneware vs. porcelain, salt vs. soda, raku vs. low fire. None of that mattered. In the end it was design, technique, craftsmanship, originality, that won out. I took four pictures away and had the eight prize winners. I'm sure I put in some of my own prejudices, how could I not? These were my personal favorites.

Charles deserves the credit for putting the Vasefinder National 2009 exhibition together. He did the work.


Michael Cohen