I became a professional ceramic artist not far from my 50th birthday. I had no formal art training, beyond a few throwing classes, and had the optimism of the blessedly ignorant. It was a time of change for me: loss of a long-term career, end of a long-term marriage, and a sense of urgency to “find myself”. Clay became my source of re-birth. It became an obsession. A last chance to prove to myself I had something worthwhile to offer the world.
Animals were always an integral part of my life. My mother was very tolerant of my expanding menagerie. I don’t remember her ever saying “no” to a request for a new pet. My father taught Ecology at SUNY Brockport, and people in town frequently brought young or injured wildlife to him, which he delivered home to be raised or rehabilitated. There was a more or less constant parade of ducklings, baby woodchucks, rabbits and squirrels, even a screech owl and a sparrow hawk. My patient mother allowed them all space in our home.