Potter Ryan Dalman is familiar with the story of a couple who purchased a single handcrafted mug, only to return the next year to buy a second from the same potter – they just couldn’t agree on who gets the mug in the morning. Dalman is that potter. Producing thousands of pieces including mugs, house wares and custom pieces such as fermenting crocs, Dalman is prolific, but views his work simply as a means to provide others with something to make them happy. His philosophy centers on his ability to do what he can to be sustainable, basing everything on labor rather than fossil fuel mechanization. His hand built home, studio and kiln – halfway between Marquette and Big Bay – evidence that not everything has to be mass-produced.
Dalman calls upon 3,000-year-old technology as his mentor and inspiration, using both a kick wheel and a wood fired kiln. Firing up the kiln about six times per year, Dalman produces roughly 80 pieces for each firing, with the entire process – throwing to firing – taking two months. The firing of the kiln takes an impressive three cords of wood and a three to four-person crew that must diligently load 20 pieces of wood into the kiln every three minutes for 30 hours. The finished products speak to Dalman’s process and discipline. The fact that he has more than 3,000+ mugs hanging in the Dark Horse Brewery are a testament to the level of comfort his pieces deliver.
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