Daniel Johnston | Episode 197
Daniel Johnston digs most of the materials he use to make and glaze his pots. Daniel’s pots are fired in a large 850 cubic ft wood kiln. Daniel enjoys the hard work and it leaves no part of the process separated from him. He does not try to control his materials, rather Daniel tries to understand them. From digging the clay to firing the kiln, Daniel puts all his efforts into creating pots that have a powerful presence. It is important to Daniel to create pots that are timeless, but reflect the culture and times in which he lives.
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Do you need validation about your own work to feel good about it?
Not at this point, no.
How do you compensate for your weaknesses?
In the work?
In running the business.
I will be very personal because I am looking at you on the screen. I feel like I am talking to you but I realize I am talking to a lot of people, but I don’t mind being really open. I grew up incredibly poor and I have a serious inability to save money and that is because I never had money. So I don’t understand how to handle money when I get it. I remember when the business got going and I had ten thousand dollars because a kiln sale had gone well and I went through that ten thousand dollars like mad. I remember recognizing I am not going to be able to succeed if I keep doing this. I called a financial adviser and asked him to help me set up several mutual funds that you are expecting me to put so much money in every month. If you tell me I have to put 500 dollars into this fund every mont, I will make sure you have that.
How do you measure success for yourself?
The ultimate measure of success would be the last time I lie down and close my eyes I cannot imagine me having done anything else.
Kate, your wife, was in our last episode, what kind of strengths does Kate bring to the pottery business?
Kate is very subtle but she is incredibly strong and I think her first test when she moved down south was to be indoctrinated into this Mark Hewitt world. We all had ideas about the way we made pots and the way we decorated pots and the way we fired pots. Kate is this five foot female who stood up against all of that and said Yeah, I don’t really do it that way.