Potter Paul Haigh
This statistical chemist now creates beautiful works of pottery
Face jug, $150
Paul Haigh of Londonderry would like to thank his wife Jennifer for his current status as enthused potter. Paul had dabbled with the arts before his career in statistical chemistry took off, but he was living in the land of cubicles. About 10 years ago, Jenn gifted him a lesson from former New Hampshire potter Jeff Brown and soon Paul was back into the mud, becoming a part-time potter and part-time chemist.
The chemistry background is a handy tool as Paul formulates his own glazes. In the wood-fired kiln, the final result is a serendipitous interplay of heat and natural elements dug from the earth. The fire is so hot the wood ashes melt onto the pot surface, forming a natural variation of the glaze formula. Predicting the result is not easy to calculate, but position in the kiln is a large factor. Some are beauties and some are a bust.
The face jugs are usually turned into the kiln’s flame for a touch of magic on the raised features. The handsome or scary faces he builds onto a thrown pot are inspired by antique face jugs — a remnant from slavery and, later, moonshine days in the South. His hand-built hip flasks are also part of that latter tradition — a clever container for illegal spirits.
The Haighs will be showing at the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen’s Annual Fair, August 2 to 10, with more hip flasks. December 4-6, they will be at the Evergreen Craft Fair at UNH Durham. Paul’s work is also shown in several League of New Hampshire Craftsmen’s shops and Tates Gallery in New Boston.
Wiley Hill Mudworks, Londonderry