Joy Friedman has a B.F.A. degree from the University of Colorado with a concentration in ceramics. She took an Independent Study Class with teacher Betty Woodman, which had a profound influence on her learning about clay. In 1980 she attended Penland School of Crafts where she studied with Angela Fina. Then in 1981 Joy apprenticed with Scott Currie, a potter in Maine, where they dug their own clay and fired all the pottery in a wood kiln. It was there that she took most inspiration about the potter's life. She moved to Western Massachusetts in 1984 and set up her studio in the Leverett Crafts and Arts Building. Her hand-made pottery began to sell well, and she thereupon became a full time professional potter, dedicating herself to making high quality functional stoneware. She has sold her pieces to galleries and stores throughout the United States and in Tokyo, Japan.
Joy has taught pottery classes for the past 23 years. She has taught at Williams College, The Amherst Community Art School and at Mudpie Potters in Leverett and now teaches in her own studio at Leverett Crafts and Arts. Joy has done ceramic workshops with the elderly in the Amherst Nursing Home, and has offered “Artability” Workshops in Amherst, Mass. and Florence, Mass., to students with disabilities.
"I make pottery from lumps of clay. Watching the clay take shape on the wheel and be transformed into a supple vessel is still magical for me. Ever since the first time I touched it I have been captivated. Clay is so sensitive and responsive in my hands. There’s a dialog between my intention and the clay’s own ability to be expressive. As the clay responds to my touch and listens to my directions, it also lets me know about its limits and its many possibilities. We are co-creators. For me making pots is a process that has structure and technique, yet there is always space for spontaneity and inspiration to occur.
There is a meditative quality, an energetic stillness that I get from working with clay. I want my pots to communicate that experience. I create my pottery to be used, touched and enjoyed.
I have such awe of nature’s beauty; it brings me joy, comfort and inspiration. I appreciate that I live in beautiful western Mass. and that my studio is in a converted barn across from a small lake. I enjoy walking in the woods and experiencing the extreme seasons of New England and its many landscapes. I have a passion for flowers and I love to work in my garden. The patterns and colors used in my pottery designs are inspired by leaves and trees, flowers and petals, sand and water.
I have been making pots for more than 20 years now... every day, steadfastly. Yet I try to approach clay with that same lust for discovery each time I start to work. I feel lucky and blessed to be able to do the work I love. Using my hands and creating pots to be used by other people’s hands feels very fulfilling and satisfying to me."