Muddy Creek Pottery, Noah Hughey-Commers

Juried Artisan

Functional wood-fired pottery


By appointment

Member of Trail Networks:
Monticello Artisan Trail (site #21)

Professional Distinction: Consignment/Retail

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A Reason for Work

Because of the nature of hand-made work, no piece I make is quite like another. With every new pot, I am refining and articulating the shape in a never-ending quest to explore a new possibility. As a culture we look to uniformity as the benchmark; with my work, however, it is the differences that are emphasized. Not only are my pots valued as fitted pieces in my collection, but importance is placed on how their unique variations complement and strengthen the set. This idea is not a small portion of the hand-made aesthetic. Unlike the static process of machine made work, I am continually forced to respond to the form in hand. This is because I am constantly starting over with a new pot, working it out from the beginning. Each re-conception, each line, each curve that I parent, responds to and improves upon the lines of pots already made. I am re-creating, but also constantly re-thinking. Each piece becomes a separate answer to the same question, the question of how to complete this new form. The mutable nature of making each pot is responsible for a product both more beautiful and more functional.

I choose to fire my work in a kiln fueled by wood, and the surfaces I strive for are layered with wood ash, a natural glaze. This method requires a long time in the kiln and its process is almost my favorite part. The result is always different and often fairly subtle: a mix of warm oranges and rough, matte browns. While not the quickest way to fire, I like giving up control to the wood flame. The resulting surfaces are complex enough to get your attention, to hold it for a long time.

The beauty of functional-ware is tied to its function. The forms I make come from a rigorous eye, looking for new ideas and pleasing lines. Because the work is made to be used, my pieces may be appreciated twice, once when resting on the shelf, and once again in the hand. In a way, pots are not complete until you choose to take them with you, to live with them. Hand-made work, when you let it in, renders more beautiful the everyday actions of eating and drinking. Pottery is there, at the vital depth of our most needed solace, the family table. It is tied to the joy of eating and drinking with one another. It is essential.


Noah Hughey-Commers




470 Ponton Lane
Lovingston, VA 22949

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