Stylized black and white image of Kurt rising from a bluish purple band; wind blowing through his long hair and a bowl spinning above his upturned left hand.  Titled The Hairy Potter with his motto: "If you don't see what you want, he can probably make one materialize for you."

This page contains other’s presentations of The Hairy Potter.  There is an article from the Boston Globe, and links to 2 short videos, one of which appeared on Youtube, created by Courtney Allen for a journalism class project in 2010.


I would be interested in your feedback about any of my work, or about other things you have seen or read on my site.  Please contact me by writing to kurt@thehairypotter.net.  If you include “pottery question/comment” in the subject line, I will be sure to read your note.

Kurt, wearing a black and white cow print bandana, gently fouching the rim of a bowl to feel the dried glaze that has been applied.
A photo of the first page of the Boston Globe article "Keeping sight of artistic vision" September 3, 2006

A front page article in the September 3rd, 2006 City Limits section of The Sunday Boston Globe

Kurt, wearing his purple bandana and purple t-shirt, working at a potter's wheel.  He is using a throwing stick and a piece of strap metal to "chatter" a pint.  Chatteringå is creating a rythmic pattern to the outside of a pot.

Keeping sight of artistic vision

9/3/2006

From: The Boston Globe, USA

By: Batia Charpak, Globe Correspondent

Submitted by BlindNews Mailing List

Legally blind, he finds new outlets


Kurt Kuss stands beside the dining-room table, which is laden with pieces of his ceramics, in his Brookline apartment. He wears dark glasses to protect his eyes from the bright sunlight streaming through the windows. He has been a professional chef, a baker, a jewelry designer, a potter, and a glass blower. He's also been legally blind for the last 16 years.


“Just because you can't see very well doesn't mean you can't do things," said Kuss, 45, who lost his vision due to complications from diabetes.  “I think, in the back of my mind, I never expected to live this long, so it wasn't a surprise when I lost my eyesight," he said. Despite 15 laser surgeries over two years, Kuss can see things only in extremely high contrast -- black against white or yellow. He describes the impairment as trying to see through several layers of thick plastic wrap.


He made a tough concession when he lost his sight: He gave up his cooking career.

“It was a great creative outlet for me," he said. “So when it got to a point when I couldn't do professional cooking anymore -- not that I wasn't capable, it was just that I was working with other people, roaring flames, sharp knives, producing an environment which wasn't doing anybody any good -- I thought about changing careers."


Then came college and a pottery class. “It was a good segue from the chemistry involved in cooking, and just as in cooking, there's a final product, which is a demonstration of artistry and spontaneity."


But it's the tactile nature of the clay that speaks loudest to Kuss -- to be able to tell just by feel how stiff or soft the clay needs to be to create the shapes he wants. It “enabled me to produce things that don't require me to see it."


He took up jewelry designing in 1998, when he and his wife, Barbara Ceconi, came across a bead shop while honeymooning in San Francisco. Having always wanted a lapis and gold bracelet, he decided to design one himself.  “My wife wouldn't let me try metal working, so beads were the next best thing," he said.


To choose the beads, he gets painstaking descriptions of them from whomever has the patience, he said. He chooses roughly cut stones, which are easier for him to differentiate by feel, and he utilizes his memories of color to create pleasing combinations.  Friends and strangers alike soon noticed the unusual jewelry designs. “Wandering around, people would ask me where I got them, and then would ask, `Could you make me one?' "


The glass blowing is a more recent endeavor for Kuss.

“I've always wanted to do that, and I've developed in my life this sense of, if you're someplace and intrigued or interested in something, ask the question," Kuss said. On a trip to Murano, an island off Venice known for the craft, he asked in one shop if he could try it.  “After he blew the ball of glass, all the guys stopped what they were doing and applauded and called out in Italian, `Artist! Artist!' " Ceconi said.  Kuss now blows glass as a hobby at the MIT glass plant.


Although his art is beautiful, it comes with a price -- pain. Kuss needs strong light to be able to see anything, but strong light also gives him migraines. But even this doesn't stop him for long, he said.  “The amount of effort that goes into it is far outweighed by the satisfaction of the end result."


Works by Kurt Kuss will be among the crafts featured in next weekend's Boston Arts Festival, in Christopher Columbus Park.

HYPERLINK http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2006/09/03/keeping_sight_of_artistic_vision?mode=PF