Emily was born in the Midwest, but has lived in Utah, Alaska, Arizona, Seattle and now, Hawai’i. She has been working with clay since she was a child, and has had some very inspiring teachers who sparked her passion for clay with their own enthusiasm, dedication, and spirit. One of her most inﬂuential pottery teachers was Marguerite Wildenhain, whose summer pottery workshops in Guemeville, California she attended for two years, in 1979 and 1980. Other education includes a MA from the University of Arizona (1993), a BFA from the University of Utah (1980), and workshops with Dean Schartz, Don Bendel, Paulus Berensohn, John Leach, Frank Boyden and Fred Olsen.
Emily moved to Hawai’i in 1998. “Much of my inspiration for forming and decorating clay comes from nature – the amazing plants that grow in Hawaii, the unique birds.” Currently she is creating mainly with stoneware clay, beginning by throwing forms on the potter’s wheel. Then she uses hand building techniques such as adding coils, paddling, cutting clay away, and sculpting. Some forms are also decorated with incised designs and colored slips. She ﬁres in two different kilns, one electric, and one fueled by propane. She mixes and modiﬁes all of her own glazes, formulating different glazes to create the effect she seeks. Certain color combinations work best in one kiln or the other.
Passionate about working to preserve endangered Hawaiian birds and plants, she donates $1 from every “bird pot” she sells to the ʻAlalā Project, which is dedicated to restoring Hawaiʻi’s native crow to the wild.
“I like the idea of making things that bring a sense of wonder into everyday living. Making candle holders and oil lamps may help to bring a little light into someone’s life, drinking vessels and decanters may be a part of some special moment, a little bowl or box can cradle small wonders. Most of my pieces are functional in some way, though some of the birds are closed forms, making them more purely sculptural. I still thinkof them as vessels – for the spirit of the bird.”
View more works by Emily Herb by visiting her page on our online store here.