I was born in LeMars, Iowa, but have lived much of my life in Omaha, Nebraska. My pottery training began in the College of Art and Technology in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, England. During my stay in England, I entered into a year-long apprenticeship with Didi Chapman in Hexham, Northumberland, England, where I wedged and pugged clay, mixed and sieved glazes, swept and cleaned and carried shelves of ware to the kiln room. In exchange, I was provided instruction into throwing by Didi and Pauline (Paul) Lishman, to whom I am both eternally grateful to think they started me on a path that has lasted 40 years. The Didi Chapman Pottery Studio was a production studio of traditional functional stoneware which was sold throughout Great Britain and located in a former stable for a stagecoach stop between London and Edinburgh, Scotland, above a pub then called the Coach and Horses. The studio is no longer in operation.
Upon my return to the United States, I studied ceramics at Northwest Missouri State University under Russell Schmaljohn, then at the University of Nebraska at Omaha under Henry Serenco, graduating with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree. During my undergraduate studies, I was a producing potter at The Grey Turtle Pottery Shop, in the Dundee neighborhood in Omaha. After my graduation, I was invited to be a visiting artist/lecturer at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. During my time at UNO, I instructed beginning students in handbuilding, an introduction to throwing and glaze chemistry.
I entered a career in public education with the Omaha Public Schools and spent 30 years teaching, and in the administration of the school district. During this time, I continued my love of pottery, working and developing my skills, showing in national and regional shows and selling ware in retail outlets, craft shows and independently. In my transition from public educator to a private entrepreneur potter, I was the adjunct ceramics professor at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, teaching the introduction and advanced classes. These students were introduced to oxidation and reduction firing, Raku, pit firing, glaze chemistry, hand-building, throwing, and lessons on the history of ceramics, aesthetics, craftsmanship and the development of raw materials. As with many universities, the cuts came to the department and ceramics was cut from the curriculum. I concurrently was also adjunct professor at Bellevue University in Ceramics, Sculpture and Art History. This program was an introductory class and served to expose students to art history, making, aesthetics and appreciation. This program too fell to increasing costs and Bellevue University closed their art department in May, 2017.
I currently work from my studio located in Omaha. This has allowed me to take in independent study students and to rent space for others to work in my studio. I have expanded my opportunities by traveling to enter into shows and sell my ware in Colorado, Iowa, and Nebraska. On-Line sales have also bolstered my exposure and I am able to sell both nationally and internationally.
10 thoughts on “Biography and Reviews”
Beautiful work!! Love your site and your pottery. From a fellow longtime pottery maker and lover <3
I love Wes’s pottery! I especially love my butter dish and recently bought matching cream and sugar bowl. I also have a wonderful covered jar in my bathroom I use for storing cotton puffs, and I have my favorite coffee mug, all Wes’s creative work! 5 stars!!!
Every piece I received is stunning! Thank you so much. I love the honey pot!
I’m really impressed by the quality of work and customer service! I ordered a mug for one of my coworkers and I couldn’t be happier (except maybe if I’d thought to get one for myself too). Great communication and really can’t beat the local delivery. I’m really happy with my purchase, and I know the recipient will be too. Thank you!!
After looking on-line for gifts ideas, I found a local Omaha business, Crescent Moon Pottery, that makes quite attractive and unique pottery.
My pitcher is absolutely beautiful! You do fantastic work. Never did I expect to have it so soon. Thank you.
Thank you for a wonderful show and residency on the Chadron State College campus. Our students really seemed to enjoy their time with you. Thank you for your kind words about them and taking time to be interviewed on NET.
Hi. I am an artist too & made a bird bath sculpture that I would like to put a ceramic bowl on top for a bird bath. The base of the bowl would be 12” with sides flaring out so that the top of the bowl would end up being 16” with 2” sides. Is that something you would be interested in doing?
There are two ways to approach your request. First, I would be happy to try to fit your vision into your project, but with the size, it may take a couple of attempts for which I would need to charge time, materials and labor for, even if it didn’t come out as you want it to be. This is a rather large endeavor which would have to be on a back burner for me as I have a show coming up and a family vacation. Second way to approach this is for you to rent space from in my student studio and make it yourself. I do charge $75 per month for studio space, and you would have to use the clay which I provide and fire, which is an additional $8 per pound (covers the cost of the clay, bisque fire, glaze fire, glaze). I charge an additional $20 per hour for lessons if you would like to explore staying involved in my student studio and want throwing and/or handbuilding lessons, glaze chemistry lessons and development, alternative firing techniques, etc. (a curriculum we would choose together to meet your goals). You can contact me at 402-618-4398 if you would like to discuss any of these possibilities.
I love you are doing this!