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Georgette Ore and Rascal Ware
An excerpt from The Peedmont Press, Style Section, January 10, 2001
by Donald B. Woofin

This is the first chapter in a series of articles by Don Pilcher on some of the characters that have been inspiring him and helping him with creating his ceramic works. Feedback is welcome: Don Pilcher: .

Georgette Ore and Rascal Ware - Chapter 1

Georgette Ore is vague about her age and her past except to say that she was born in the South and grew up on the Gulf. A guess puts her somewhere between middle age and early retirement, depending on the light and the time of day.

She has worked in the pottery field for some time, moving frequently and living an artist’s life as America’s perpetual guest. Ms. Ore explains that the recent bent of her pottery has been inspired by a line from the classic motion picture, The Graduate, wherein it is suggested to Benjamin that the future is in plastics. She treats her clay as if it were plastic; heated and malleable. Her pottery appears off handed and, to some eyes, even inept. Yet upon careful examination it is clear that each vessel begins as an exquisitely wheel thrown piece of work which is then animated and transformed by the power of her imagination and her wily fingers.

Ms. Ore has remained single, but admits to having a fondness for her new employer, Junior Bucks. They met on the Internet in a feldspar chat room.

Mr. Bucks founded the Rascal Ware Pottery several years ago. To date, this venture has enjoyed no particular success. He recently hired Ms. Ore in an attempt to turn Rascal Ware into “well…something desirable”. As to her inspiration concerning “plastics”, Mr. Bucks says that while this may be true, he himself has noticed a profound change in Ms. Ore’s work since she began taking a prescribed medication on a daily basis. He also reports that she no longer complains about the heat in the studio. Good thing, that. Always a gentleman, Mr.Bucks has no comment on her wily fingers.

Ms. Ore has been asked if she knows of, or is related to, the famous American potter, George Ohr. She says that one side of her family has a legend that there is a connection between the Ores and the Ohrs. The discrepancy in spelling is attributed to the Immigration Service, an alcohol treatment sanitarium, or unregulated voting practices in a large rural county, all depending on who is telling the story. At best, she figures she could be a grand niece, once removed by a second marriage. Nothing to brag on there. Commenting on the similarities of their pottery, she observes that Rascal Ware is to George Ohr as Twain is to Poe. She won’t elaborate further.

As to a life spent in the art pottery business, she thinks that it is wonderful, but more complex and demanding than most people recognize. “After all”, she says, “you can’t really tell the difference between the theory of the post-modern narrative and a good practical joke. Maybe there is no difference. It’s just too ironic. Young artists and potters are drawn to irony because it often signifies real content. But after you’ve lived enough of it, you run the other way, because irony can also suggest that the hand of God has been dealing from the bottom of the deck. That’s an unpleasant thought; it tests my theology, breaks my heart and gives me a headache. I’m better off sticking with plastic clay and my wily fingers”.

Ms. Ore averts her eyes when she talks about irony. One is left to wonder if she intends to stick with Mr. Bucks.


About Don Pilcher: American studio potter and author. Pilcher earned a BFA at the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles in 1964 and an MFA at the Rhode Island School of Design in 1966. He taught at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from 1966-99, where he is now Professor Emeritus. He makes wheel-thrown and altered functional ware. Images & text © Don Pilcher. Contact: .

Rascal Ware Chapter 1/Español
Rascal Ware Chapter 2/Español
Rascal Ware Chapter 3
Rascal Ware Chapter 4
Rascal Ware Chapter 5
Rascal Ware Chapter 6

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