Conversations with an Artist: Bob Dinetz
Bob is a member of The Berkeley Potter’s Studio and is trained as a graphic designer. We fell in love with Bob’s pottery before we moved back to the Bay Area and were excited to carry his pieces in the store when we opened.
Describe the moment you realized art fed your soul.
Maybe in high school when I took a graphic design class. I designed a poster for an event, and I’m sure it was nothing special, but I discovered something I loved to do and wanted to learn more about. I went on to get a Graphic Design degree.
What themes do you pursue in your art?
I try to keep things simple and modern. Yet there is always evidence of each piece being handmade — throw rings on the inside of a vase, slight variations in size and wonderful drips in a glazed surface.
Tell us about what influenced your direction for your pottery.
My wife, Kathleen, and I started buying pottery at the flea market. Nothing rare or exotic, mostly original Bauer pieces that we could just enjoy using. They felt good in your hand — well balanced, simple shapes. Since making pottery, I’ve been inspired by European ceramicists like Lucy Rie, Gunnar Nylund, Stig Lindberg and Berndt Friberg and American potters Stan Bitters, Bob Kinzie and Robert Maxwell. There are many young potters throughout the world that I follow through social media as well. In addition to potters, there’s inspiration everywhere. A pattern in a metal gate, shingles, other architectural surfaces.
How has your work developed over time?
Well, I have only been making pottery for a few years. I’m trying to do a just a small number of things as best I can, before exploring the wide range of possibilities. I’m in no hurry — I feel this is something I’ll be doing for a long time.
What’s the most indispensable item in your studio?
Time. I have to make sure non-throwing activities like packing, shipping, cleaning, clay recycling and amateur accounting don’t overwhelm the joy of sitting at the wheel and practicing.
Do you collect anything?
I used to collect things like 70s Panasonic radios and old cameras. But now I’m more focused on collecting memories from traveling. Our family loves to see the world whenever we get a chance.
What’s the most inspiring thing you’ve seen, read, watched or listened to recently?
I have been listening to Woody Guthrie lately! He did a collection of songs about the Columbia River that’s really amazing. His use of language, as everyone knows, is incredible.
What advice would you give to your younger self about your artistic journey?
Stay curious. Really, it’s advice for any age, but it’s something I always think about.
Bob’s pottery is available at Poet and/the Bench. If you haven’t seen these gorgeous pieces in person, do stop by and take a look. We’re also happy to ship if you’re not in the area.
Bonnie & Jeffrey