About John Walthier

Culture Captured in Clay

I hand-build sculptural ceramics because I’m passionate about clay and how it’s been used around the world for thousands of years. I craft objects that speak of our time and culture yet also reflect ancient ceramic traditions. My work adds to a long history of people striving to document our world and to create beauty. These strivings began in neolithic caves; I continue them into the 21st century.

My work combines a contemporary aesthetic while also reflecting the dignity of tradition. I study craftsmanship in clay around the globe. I incorporate traditional techniques into my work. At the same time I strive to capture what I observe in the world around me.

My work is about this intersection of past and present, elsewhere and here.

Give Me Good Clay: I Can Work With That!

I’ve fallen in love with clay as a material. It’s simple, basic. Earth and water. With skill and hard work an artist can transform this basic material into utility and even art. Squeezing mud through her fingers, the artist can mold and stretch and construct objects of delight, decorating the surface with expressive marks and scratches.

Fire transforms gooey, sticky, slimy clay into objects that can survive long past the lifetime of the artist and even the artist’s entire culture. There is permanence to clay.

How I Got Here

Growing up in Arizona, I was exposed to the rich tradition of pottery in the American Southwest. As a boy I frequently camped amidst pottery sherds made by Hohokam people centuries earlier. Holding these small, painted objects, I could wonder about all that once was. I held the only remaining thing of an entire culture.

I studied art at the University of Arizona, focusing on drawing, painting and printmaking. I also hold a law degree from Santa Clara University.

I built a career in law and finance in California and Colorado. I continued artistic activities as my career and family time allowed. I retired from my professional career in early 2022 and now focus on ceramics from my studio in Denver, Colorado.

In 2020-2021, I completed a 9 month Arts Leadership program through the Colorado Business Community in the Arts. I now serve on the Finance Committee of the Art Students League of Denver, where I also study sculpture.

I’m fortunate to live in Colorado with my wife of 33 years, enjoying the snow and mountains. We love travel and our two dogs. I have time to sculpt and drive my fingers into clay. Life is good.

I welcome any of your thoughts and comments. Please contact me via email (jtwalthier@hotmail.com) or through a comment on my Blog.

Namibia 2022

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