Sunday, January 04, 2009

John Zentner 1951-2008

It is with a heavy heart that we report the passing of potter John Zentner, who succumbed to cancer on December 12 at his home in Northwood, New Hampshire. We'd mentioned about his illness here earlier.

As reported to me by his partner Michele, he passed away peacefully during the ice storm in the light of the full moon. She was with him through the last six months of his life, caring for him and helping him maintain the good spirits that carried him along.

John was working with sculptor Jane Kaufmann on a collaborative story piece, and he had just completed the text. The piece will be completed with one of John's pots affixed on top. I love the words he wrote. They capture his earnestness and kindness:

"My biggest influence was Byron
Temple one of Leach's last
apprentices. And Mingei. Always
wanted to make functional pots and
never got too far away from that.

"For me form comes first, glazes
second. I am looking for simple,
strong, direct and bold. I love
throwing and testing glazes. I love
the smell of wet clay.

"I'm a three guitar man. Music came
before clay. I love movies and good
storytelling too. I have never chased a
dollar. Decided if I was going to be
broke I might as well be broke doing
something I love.

"I have always had my hands in clay.
My partnership with Michele freed
me to work full time. For the last four'
years I've been on a mission and it's felt

John was a good man and a valuable potter. We are very sad he is gone, and very grateful for every cup, bowl, piggy bank, and pitcher he created. The world is worse without him.

Read John's obit here (scroll down). See his blog here. And read more about his work and philosophy here.

We wish Michele and John's family comfort and peace. May John's spirit be with us always.

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.
Image by Michele Hastings.


Swooze said...

I just found out today about John. I have some of his work and always admired him as a potter. I just wanted to say that I am sorry to hear that he passed, but I am so glad that it was in the light of the full moon. May his spirit ride the light back home!

Robin Levene McGregor said...

I am so lucky to have known John, a kind, gentle man whose pots expressed the inner beauty of John himself. I'm so glad I own 2 of his pots, and have been lucky enuf that they haven't gotten broken through my move to the West and the kaos beyond. Rest in peace, John, and know that you live on through your pots.

Celesta said...

This is fantastic!