Gerry Williams '42

Gerry Williams has been recognized for excellence in his field and his original research on ceramic techniques called wet fire and photo resist and his contributions to the art of wheel-thrown and slab-built pottery both nationally and internationally.

Gerry was born in Asansol, Bengal. He began at Woodstock in 1937, graduating in 1942. After leaving India in 1943, he attended Cornell College in Iowa for a year before being drafted as a conscientious objector in New York City. He was later jailed for refusing to re-register for the draft prior to the Korean War. He went to New Hampshire in 1950 to study pottery at the League of Arts and Crafts and became an independent craftsman.

Gerry and his wife Julie live in northeastern United States, where he is an independent, self-supporting artist, and founder and editor of Studio Potter magazine, a publication with a world-wide readership. During the past 40 years, he has produced wheel-thrown and slab-built pottery, fired in high temperature gas and wood kilns in his own studio. His work includes architectural forms and commissioned wall plaques. He has done original research on the ceramic techniques of wet fire and photo resist, and has published papers on them. He has had many one-man exhibitions in museums and art centers in the US and abroad, including The American Craft Museum in New York City, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the US State Department Traveling Museum in London, and the US State Department Traveling Exhibition in Europe and Africa. Having taught at many colleges, including Dartmouth College, Willimantic State College, Haystack School of Crafts, Penland School of Crafts, NY State College at Cortland, and the Tasmanian College of Advanced Education, Hobart, Australia, he has also conducted workshops throughout the Eastern US and Canada, and has lectured in Austria, Japan and India.

He has contributed to symposia in Finland and Australia, and has been a panel member for the National Endowment for Arts in Washington, DC. He is the co-founder of the Phoenix Workshops, a summer school. He was the subject of a film called An American Potter, produced by Charles Musser, the Yale film historian. Gerry is the originator of the first national conference on apprenticeship, and has spoken on the subject at World Craft Conferences in Kyoto, Japan and Vienna, Austria. He is a trustee emeritus of Haystack School, and was on the Board of Advisors for the Appalachian Craft Center, Tennessee. He was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Arts from Notre Dame College, Manchester, NH. He also was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Arts from his alma mater Cornell College. He was elected a fellow of the American Craft Council, from which he received a gold medal, and is an honorary member of the National Council on Education in the Ceramic Arts. He is an elected member of the International Academy of Ceramics, Geneva, Switzerland. In 1998, he was designated the first Artist Laureate of New Hampshire.

Click here to view the photo presentation from the Distinguished Alumni assembly.

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