For 39 years Michael Rutkowsky’s studio practice was known as Pond Branch Pottery. It is now in its third location and in 2018 was renamed Rutkowsky Pottery
My first studio in the Pond Branch Community near Leesville, SC. Converted from an old pole barn with recycled materials in 1979 after successfully completing an MFA program at USC in Columbia, SC. I mixed my clay in a horse trough and air dried to throwing consistency. The pots were fired to cone 10 (high-fired stoneware) in a sprung-arch wood burning kiln. My work was moving from slip trailing and celadon glazes to slip trailing on colored slips that were unglazed.
The second studio built in Green Mountain, NC in 1987. The kiln was moved and reassembled, it was fired with propane to cone 9. I used a clay mixer to mix my own clay formula and a pugmill to wedge it before throwing it on the potter's wheel. I was accepted to exhibit in the Southern Highland Craft Guild in 1989 and exhibit in the Guild Fairs and sell through their galleries. Unglazed ware was giving out to celadons and glaze trailing on colored slips under celadons, and glaze trailing over celadon.
The present studio on Cane Branch Road was built in 1999. My clay and glazes are still prepared by myself according to my own formula which has evolved over the years I have used them. The kiln has been moved and reassembled again, disassembled and rebuilt in February 2018, sharing firings with Ruth Fischer Rutkowsky— my wife and partner in Rutkowsky Pottery. It is fired to cone 10 in a reduction atmosphere, burning propane fuel. Now I am slip and glaze trailing on glazed and unglazed pots, combining colored slips with celadons and applying slips and glazes with my fingers to achieve multiple layers of varying colors.