WORTHINGTON - With more than three decades of shaping, coiling, throwing, firing and glazing, Jerry Deuschle is an expert on all things ceramics.
The Luverne artist’s expressive pots, vases and clay sculptures will take over the Nobles County Art Center over the next two months, beginning with a grand opening from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday.
The collection of works is diverse, as Deuschle uses a variety of tools and processes to create clay art. His specialty is Raku firing, an ancient Japanese process known for its unpredictable results.
One of the area’s most well-known potters, Deuschle likes to pass on his knowledge to those interested in learning more. For the last 12 years, he’s taught ceramics at various Minnesota West Community and Technical College campuses, and now hosts educational events at his studio in Luverne.
Deuschle has been on the pottery kick for more than three straight decades, ever since he bought a kiln for $30 in 1985. He was always good at art - his teachers identified that as early as kindergarten - but he got into electrics at a young age as well. He recalls holding up a flashlight for his father, Harold, while the master electrician tackled the job.
Deuschle went back and forth between art and electrics, but he always found time to fire up the kiln - effectively an oven to bake pottery. After several years teaching art in Appleton and Arlington, Deuschle moved back to Luverne, where he would eventually take over his father’s business, Harold’s Electric.
He later went on to teach in the electrical program at Minnesota West in Jackson, and with some prodding, successfully lobbied the school to offer ceramics classes. Deuschle teaches three ceramics classes, including “Investigations into Raku” for those brave enough. As the classes fulfill a general education requirement, they’re pretty much always full.
“These are hands-on students, they’re not interested in online classes,” Deuschle said. “So they take ceramics. A good share of them take one class, a few take all three.”
Having spent many years learning from some of the best potters out there, Deuschle enjoys a chance to share his expertise.
“I’ve had contact with a lot of experts and well-known artists, so If I could remember everything I’d learned, I would be a real wealth of knowledge,” he said with a grin.
Deuschle retired from teaching the electric program last year, but he still instructs regularly between ceramics classes at Minnesota West and events at Deuschle Studio, an art gallery owned by Deuschle and his wife, Kathy.
The Worthington show will run through Aug. 31. Fore more information, call the art center at 372-8245.