Thor McNeil grew up in Hahira, GA, 15 miles north of Valdosta and received his Bachelors of Fine Art degree from Valdosta State College. He has participated in Art Festivals all over the Southeastern United States and has been a potter for over 20 years. Though pottery is his main focus, you can occasionally find him working on watercolors, weavings, and batiks for therapy!
In 1978, when I decided I wanted to be a potter after seeing one demonstrate at a local craft fair, “Potters are a dime a dozen”, he told me. “It is not an artistic venue, but one of a skilled laborer. Potters, like blacksmiths use to make everything that was needed for our daily chores in life in the 1800’s. Then the damn University System got a hold of it and made people think it was ART by charging them to learn it and then giving them a piece a paper saying they were worth a damn to society.” His words have always echoed in my studio. I feel the more the better when it comes to pottery. I enjoy setting up at shows with 20 to 50 potters or more. The reason for this is for the comparison. Just like buying cloths, You can find some cheaply made for a low price, some nicely made for a higher price and even some really high quality, tailor made for a really high price. But it is the GEM that you get when you find some really high quality for a much lower price than normal that makes the treasure hunt worth while. I feel my work separates itself from the dozen because of the following points.
HIGH QUALITY CRAFTSMANSHIP – My lips do not easily chip, my handles do not fall off. I spent years in the restaurant business serving with dinnerware that is a little bit thicker on the edges of the item so that it can take the daily abuse. I try to incorporate what I learned into my throwing.
FORMS THAT FOLLOW FUNCTION – A perfect example is my coffee cups. Wide at the bottom, narrow at the top to hold a large volume of coffee but prevent heat loss and wave motion. this also allows for a gracious handle that is large at the top where your hand is. To many pots are made with no thought on how they will be used. NOT HERE.
GLAZES – It has taken me 26 years to get to this point, most of my items are gallery quality both in form and glaze combination. The comment at Art Shows is ” I have never seen such colors in pottery”. And if you ever do you will pay dearly for them. My glazes alone are a work of art and I am very proud of them.
PRICES – When you consider all of the above, a coffee cup should be around $50 to $60 each, like other potters that have the same characteristics…..but I like to sell my work and that is what makes it the GEM that you have found!