Interview with Local Potter, Ray Caron

Today I have the pleasure of speaking with Ray Caron a local potter in the Twin Cities.  Ray  is a participant in Brush and Pen: Festival for Artists and Authors,

Welcome, Welcome Ray! Thanks for taking the time to talk with me today.


Katelyn- Ray, can you tell us a bit about yourself that isn’t art related?

Ray-I work full time at the University of Minnesota.  It’s a staff position that offers great benefits. I received my second degree, a BFA, through using the Regents Scholarship program.  I’m an avid fisherman. I commonly practice “catch and release” so I think it might just be an excuse to get outside and on the water.

Katelyn- I love that you were able to get your BFA as a benefit of working at the U of M, that’s awesome.

I am always curious what inspires an artist to start making art. What inspired you to start making art?

Ray-My parents encouraged me and my siblings to draw.  There was a basic drawing course on PBS that we would gather around to participate in.  Many years later, I took a series of vocational aptitude tests. The counselor there said “you have the habits and unrealized abilities of an artist”  I know it’s not a romantic beginning but the coin dropped and off I went.

Katelyn- What great parents to instill creativity in their children!! That isn’t true for a lot of us.

Can you tell us what is your favorite medium and why?

Ray- I painted with acrylic paints for many years.  I found them preferable to oils. Now that I’m a ceramicist I’m getting finicky about clay bodies.  I mostly use a Stoneware from Continental Clay. It’s sturdy to sculpt with and I like the lighter kilned color that takes glazes easily and looks good unglazed.


Katelyn- Ah, a painter turned potter. I love how you let your imagination free on the surface of the mug.

I am curious about why you create art.

Ray-Creating Art is essential to my well-being.  Everything I do to support and sustain making Art I call “feeding the Art Monkey”  My artist friends are somewhat taken aback by that but I’m hooked. It’s the center of my being in a way.

Katelyn- I think that is a great way to say it! The Art Monkey has to eat too.  Most creative people have creative blocks sometimes.  What do you do when you get a creative block?

Ray- When people talk to me about being blocked I think of Van Gogh, who at one point painted his boots.  There’s loads of inspiration and motivation around us every day. It’s a matter of letting yourself see it.  In clay, there’s a multitude of variables and directions to go in and draw from. I also keep a sketchbook of projects to complete.  That’s my back up plan for feeling that I’m drifting. Or I just start working and see what happens.

Katelyn- I agree, there is so much around us to be inspired by. It is just a matter of letting yourself see.  I think seeing is an art in itself.

You mentioned Van Gogh which makes me wonder if you have particular artists that you are inspired by.

Ray- Antoni Tapies is an inspirational figure for me. He created works based on the texture of the material most people pass by every day.

Katelyn- I had to look him up because I had not heard of him before.  I can see his inspiration in your work. I love the idea of using materials other people overlook.

I know there will be aspiring artists reading this. What advice would you give them?

Ray- One of my favorite musicians once said onstage one night “Don’t (venture into making Art) unless you absolutely have to.”

Katelyn- As one of those people who have to do art, I totally understand!

Can you tell us how we can support you in your art career?

Ray- I like it even if people visit my Facebook page and follow it. Asymmetrical work is far from the norm in functional ceramics, especially for mugs.  I’m making Art that I hope will resonate with others. I’d like to develop a dozen or so conversations about ceramics and art.

Katelyn-What is your web address or where can people see your art?

The Facebook page for my ceramic work is Clay Panther Ceramics

A very good catalogue of my work is on Pinterest at Functional Art -Ray Caron ClayPantherCeramics and I have an Etsy shop: Clay Panther Ceramics.


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