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Guy Wolff

Master Potter in the Garden

Suzanne Staubach

Publication Year: 2013

If you mention Guy Wolff to a serious gardener, that gardener will almost certainly admit to either owning a Guy Wolff flowerpot or coveting one. Wolff's pots--some small and perfect for a sunny windowsill, others massive and just right for a favorite outdoor spot--are widely considered to be the epitome of gardenware. Their classical proportions, simple decoration, and the marks of Wolff's hands all combine to make plants look their best. His pots possess an honesty and liveliness that machine-made flowerpots lack.

Wolff is probably the best-known potter working in the United States today. In gardening circles, he is a highly revered horticultural icon; gardeners flock to his lectures and demonstrations. His work also appeals to lovers of design and fine arts: visit the personal gardens of landscape designers, and you will see Guy Wolff pots. Step inside the gates of estate gardens, and you will see Guy Wolff pots. Yet he is a potter's potter. He's a big ware thrower, a skill few have today. He thinks deeply about what he calls the architecture of pots and the importance of handmade objects in our lives.

Whether you are a longtime collector of Wolff's pots, anxious to buy your first one, or simply intrigued by the beauty and practicality of hand-crafted goods in our fast-paced era, you'll want to add this richly illustrated book to your library.

Published by: University Press of New England

Title Page, Frontispiece, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-9

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pp. ix-x

Suzanne Staubach has written Guy Wolff: Master Potter in the Garden, a book about a man who chose to be a potter. He seemed to know, even as a young Guy loves pottery with a passion, with dedication, and with an intense fo-cus as he leads the life of a full-time studio potter. As such, he has had much recognition and enjoyed continued success in making, selling, and living with ...

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pp. xi-xii

I can’t remember how I first met Guy. Maybe we were both attending the same plant sale. Perhaps Tina Dodge introduced us, I have no recollection. But I’ll never forget the result of however we heard about each other. Vividly, I recall the day Guy backed his dusty pickup up to Logee’s Greenhouses (where I was working at the time) with a load of freshly thrown terracotta. Before that junc-...

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pp. 1-4

His pots possess an honesty and liveliness that machine-made flowerpots lack. T_hey are beautiful and eminently functional, with generous drainage holes, a porous composition, and a shape that guarantees that a root ball can be slipped Wolff is probably the best-known potter working in the U.S. today. In gar-dening circles, he is highly revered, a horticultural icon. Gardeners flock to his ...

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1. Guy Wolff: Master Potter

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pp. 5-18

...“Unlike other mass-produced art, hand-thrown pots seem to look better the faster they are turned out,” John Windsor wrote for the Sunday Independent in 1995. “T_he potter’s skill improves with practice—yet there is no time for pre-tentiousness. Hence the charm of English country pottery made for cooking, baking, brewing, storing, growing seedlings, or feeding chickens.”uniF6DC...

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2. Flowerpots through the Millennia

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pp. 19-28

...“It really doesn’t matter if someone owns Campbell Soup [Company] or has three pots in the backyard,” Wolff says. “You start putting dirt into a flowerpot and people are changed because they are doing something that is nurturing. When a person sees a mother with a newborn or even a toddler and the kid looks at your face and smiles, you could be Adolf Eichmann and you’d still be ...

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3. Early Years & Influences

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pp. 29-46

Social scientists and neuroscientists ask the same questions about each of us, but so far the answers elude them. In Wolff ’s case, it is probably all and none of these. By the time Wolff was born, his father, Robert Jay Wolff (1905–1977), had won prizes for his sculpture, was an important abstract expressionist artist, and was an intimate within a close circle of ground-breaking and well-known ...

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4. Seeking the Old Masters

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pp. 47-56

Guy Wolff worked in a stoneware pottery here for four years. He started at the age of 16 — , an innocent, willing, cheerful and hardworking — I would not have accounted him exceptional at that time, except for his ability and willingness to work, with no expectation of reward.accomplishment. — But beyond this, Guy’s vigorous and alive spirit, ...

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5. Setting Up Shop: Guy Wolff Pottery

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pp. 57-74

T_he story he tells is that “Miss Mary Pickford [1892–1979] rented the local guest house on the Garland Estate up the hill which had been a teahouse in the Vic-torian era. So she rented this teahouse and I guess Mr. Fairbanks came to visit. At that point it wasn’t a marriage. It was sort of a love nest — her biographer stopped by and I asked her about the place in Woodville and her response was ...

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6. A Passion for Horticultural Wares

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pp. 75-94

T_he woman was Tina Dodge, from the Tiffany family, married to Michael Dodge, who worked at nearby White Flower Farm for 26 years. She too was associated with the prestigious nursery and had studied and worked at Kew Gardens. Wolff was about to be thrust into the world of very serious gardeners “So the next day she came back with an order. One thousand of it from Tim ...

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7. The Guy Wolff Guilds

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pp. 95-116

Historically, potters have not always worked in solitude. A solitary potter who performs all tasks, throwing, decorating, firing, selling, packing and shipping, is a construct of the studio potter movement. Early American potters often worked in small groups, two or three brothers, or a father and son, or sadly, in the South, a slave owner might have slaves such as Dave the Potter throw pots for them. Some-...

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8. Mud Man, Poet of Flowerpots

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pp. 117-136

Elaborating on what sets Wolff ’s pots apart, she continues, “T_he reason (or one main reason) why Guy is not a big name in the current ‘art potter’ scene is that he is not an ‘art potter’ and he makes round potsuni00A0.uni00A0.uni00A0. round pots result from wheel action. A non-thrower I know who makes use of a wheel says, ‘I throw but then I alter the shapes.’ — Well, if a real thrower is in action, there ...

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pp. 137-138

...vens-Grudin, Mrs. Karl, Simon Leach, Tovah Martin, Hannah McAndrews, Todd Piker, Margaret Roach, Mara Seibert, Susan Tamulevich, Gordon Tit-comb, Abby, Ethan and Chrissy Weisgard, and Ben Wolff. T_hanks too to Judy Doyle for her close read of the manuscript and to Lary Bloom who encourages me to write. And thanks go to Mary Bisbee-Beek and Roger Williams who ...


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pp. 139-140


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pp. 141-142


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pp. 143-146

E-ISBN-13: 9781611684032
E-ISBN-10: 161168403X
Print-ISBN-13: 9781611683660

Page Count: 160
Publication Year: 2013