I, Christopher Dewees, came to pottery as a life progression. I grew up in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn where my mother had a pottery shop (Mary Ann’s Pottery) when I was a student at Erasmus Hall High School.
During my days at Erasmus, like many kids, my brother Harry and I had weekly chores. Our chores included sweeping and cleaning the floors at Mother's shop, washing the windows and shelves. Another chore was wedging clay. I enjoyed it. A sign of things to come!
Another brush with pottery came once I graduated Hunter College with a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning but without a job. I would practice throwing and Mother said “keep 'em coming and I'll sell them in the shop.” She also told me "Chris, you are a natural thrower." I sat at the wheel and continued practicing until pots materialized. And some sold. It was a beautifully red terra cotta earthenware clay. Unfortunately Mother's shop fell victim to a landlord design for the space that did not include a pottery shop, and there was no legal protection for existing commercial tenants upon lease expiration and changing insurance carrier requirements. Mother was evicted during the 1980s ending Mary Ann's Pottery forever.
As Mother’s shop ended, my career working for New York City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) began. As well as my HPD career, I worked at various studios and now at Greenwich House Pottery (GHP). It is a throwback to a New York City that is getting harder to find these days. At GHP, they ask cell phone usage be restricted to maintain quietness. There is a yard to sit where you can have a bite to eat, a conversation, look at a lovely magnolia tree among sculptural work, or simply try to relax in a relatively tranquil setting.
I enjoy handling the raw material as I shape it and prepare it for its journey from clay to stoneware. In this era of mass-produced plastic and paper domination of “table ware” and home products, in many ways, it is a privilege to make wholly non-mass-produced products.
Part of my personal mission is to create home products that add to enjoyment and give satisfaction as you eat or drink. Whether it's a scoop of ice cream, carrot soup, tea, coffee or hot chocolate, my pottery is designed to heighten your culinary pleasure. How does a bowl heighten pleasure? One observation is the simplicity of the bowl — how it rests in your hand, or the contour of its wall as it slopes to the floor. Another may be the blending of glaze color.
After a 30 year career working for HPD, I decided to take an early retirement package and engage in cottage industry as a small businessman in this great City joining the jubilee; rejoicing through craftsmanship, linking functionality and beauty and embarking on a new journey.