Erik Hertz was first introduced to pottery in 1963 at a craft fair in Asheville North Carolina at the age of five. Clay and the potter’s wheel fascinated him all through grade school. In high school he was given the opportunity to learn to throw and to teach others what he had learned.
He began producing pottery for retail and wholesale in 1980 and has continued to do so to date. For the last three years he has been teaching hand built ceramics and wheel throwing at “The Art Institute and Gallery” in Salisbury Maryland. His students are adults and children ages five and up. Starting right out of high school he has held clay workshops for a wide variety of groups from preschool children to ministers on retreat, incarcerated Juvenal delinquents to gifted private school students.
Hertz Pottery is high fired stoneware of original design. It is safe for use in the microwave, oven and dishwasher, and is intended for daily use. All pieces of Hertz Pottery are designed to provide many years of service.
Artist Bill Finley has been working in clay since 1974. His wife, Maggie began working with him in 1983 and Finley Pottery was born. Bill developed the unique style of working with colored clays created with oxides that are thrown together with the white clay on the potter’s wheel. As the pot is formed on the wheel, the pressure on the clay swirls the colors giving a marbling effect. Intriquite designs are carved into the clay using a surgeon’s scalpal (usually done freehand) while the clay is still somewhat soft – what is called “Leather Hard Stage”. Each glazed piece is then fired in a kiln twice. The first firing stabilizes the clay for the glaze and the second firing is done at 2282 degrees F. (1250 C.). It takes about 12 hours to get up to that temperature and then another 12 hours to cool off enough to lift the pieces out of the kiln. The whole process takes a minimum of five days with the drying times and the time spent in firing the work.
Bill likes to think of his luminaries as: “Sculptures which are lit best with a candle.”