The Lopez Island Library is pleased to feature the ceramics of Sam Bernardi. Many of you know Sam as the tech guru at the Library, but he is also a highly skilled potter. Sam is a man of many talents! His show, titled “FORM AND FUNCTION” will be on display at the Lopez Library through October 20th. You are invited to an artist reception in the Lopez Library meeting room on Friday, September 29th from 3 – 5pm.
Sam offers this narrative of himself and his work: “My interest in ceramics began in college, in the late 1960s, while pursuing a degree in art. Ceramics was one of my classes and at once, I was drawn to clay like no other medium I had been exposed to. I was fortunate in having a highly respected potter, Phil Cornelius, for an instructor and eventually became his assistant. Working beside Phil for a year provided me with the knowledge to embark on my own to pursue a career as a potter.
My early influences were contemporary potters of the time such as Peter Voulkus, Paul Soldner, Daniel Rhodes and others. However, in a short period of time I began to focus on the production of functional ware. Early American functional pottery influenced my work then and does still today. Form and function guides my hand. I love the idea that pieces I produce are used by people for everyday use. After reading the book PIONEER POTTERY by Michael Cardew, I was compelled to become as self sufficient a potter as possible. I have designed and built my own kilns and much of my own equipment. For most of my career, I have mixed my own clay from raw materials using equipment I adapted to clay production. Iʼve always felt that being a potter was more of a lifestyle, as opposed to being just a vocation. The skills I acquired in the pursuit of my craft have crossed over into other aspects of my life, allowing me to live somewhat self sufficiently.
Over the 47 years of my career, Iʼve experimented with various forms and techniques. The work in this display contains work from my personal collection. There are pots from my early days and various time periods along the way. Some show the wear of use and one piece in particular was a gift to my grandmother in 1972 and returned to me when my mother passed away in 2012. Today I consider myself semi-retired from production pottery, however, my love of the medium keeps me in my studio. Currently, I am working in terra cotta and loving the new material and developing new glazing techniques.” – Sam Bernardi