Wesleyan PottersWesleyan

Jim Belcastro

PotterMember Since 2019

I became interested in pottery when I saw a video of a person throwing on a wheel on Sesame Street when I was about 4 years old. I was immediately mesmerized by how the clay flowed in the artist’s hands and thought it would be really neat to try someday. Many years later I found myself in my first class. Pottery brings together some of my favorite things to play with: water, mud, fire and mechanics.

My work is inspired by trying to replicate items in clay that are made out of metal. I’ve had some great instructors in the short time that I have been playing with clay. Each, in their own way, has challenged me to expand my skills and techniques. I’ve also admired the works of Simon Leach, Tim See and Bill van Gilder. I’ve spent countless hours watching and learning from their online videos. My creative process starts with seeing something made from materials other than clay then trying to reproduce it. I like to try making pieces that include mechanical challenges like hinges, locking mechanisms and unique textures. This brings together throwing parts on the wheel, some light hand building and assembly. In addition to that process, sometimes I just listen to the clay as it tells me what it wants to be.

I like to balance making technical pieces with making everyday pieces like mugs bowls, plates and platters. I cannot say that I have targeted one particular piece or style. I just enjoy playing in the mud.