KEESEVILLE — Ceramist William Colquhoun creates clay vessels with verve and mystery. They have a back story, as does he.
His first foray in clay was in Oregon. He was into metal sculptures when instructors suggested he try clay since it’s really hard to fabricate a head or torso out of sheet metal.
“You have to bend it and peen it,” said Colquhoun, whose work is exhibited in Clark Davidson’s 1719 Block Gallery in Keeseville.
“You can put pieces of metal together and get three dimensions. Clay is really malleable. You can just squeeze it.”
His first attempt in ceramics was lackluster.
“I spun a glob of clay off the wheel and said, ‘This isn’t for me.”
Later, he took a six-week course with ceramist Bonnie Foster in the Albany area. In her basement, he made a few small pots.
“I began to think maybe I could do something with this,” Colquhoun said.
When Colquhoun relocated from Oregon to Albany, he continued his practice of drawing and painting. He participated in the Sketch and Paint Club of the Junior College of Albany, now Sage Colleges.
After the woman who ran the club departed, he took over the job of locating models and setting up the room. As a perk, he had access to a free course. He signed up for ceramics with Tim Martin. Soon, he was in the studio seven days a week.
“I got hooked on it,” said Colquhoun, who had a scientific-research career.
At the studio, he met Peter Roberts, a young man who was pretty experienced in pot-making.
“I learned a lot from him as well as Tim. Peter’s mother, Ann Roberts, was very much involved with Partners of America. The partner to New York was Barbados,” Colquhoun said. “Tim and I got a trip down to Barbados to give a raku workshop. We built a raku kiln. A lot of black potters learned how to do raku, and we got to get out of Albany in the winter for 10 days.”