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For me, being a potter fulfills a lifetime search for personal expression, individual freedom, and most of all, the world's best playground. For years I worked at a conventional job, conscientiously climbing the corporate ladder, using my head, enjoying the puzzles my work presented, but only minimally feeding my spirit. In what free time I had, I searched for a better fit, something that Tiggers really like. And now I've found it. In the summer of 2006 I took the thrilling, terrifying leap - early retirement - and River Otter Pottery was born.

I've worked with clay for a long time, starting in high school when I apprenticed for a summer with a potter on Cape Cod. Even then, despite my frustrations, I knew there was something soul-satisfying about playing in the mud. But only recently did I have the courage, thanks in large part to John Fulwood of Kissimmee River Pottery, to step away fully from the conventional and embrace the creative spirit in me. And what a joy it has been. The possibilities are endless: exploring the blend of form and function, indulging in flights of fancy, confronting the complex challenges of construction in my more elaborate, sculptural work, not to mention learning and relearning the unpredictable dance between glaze and flame. Each project is a new game, each day another day on the playground. And while the act of creation itself is immensely and richly satisfying, my hope is that one of my pieces will set off a flicker of fun in your spirit, or a quiet moment of peace in your heart, so you can share in my delight.

- Marian Van Buren