Jay Benzel is a native of Cherokee County, and resides in Canton, GA. He holds a BFA degree in Studio Art with a concentration in Ceramics from Piedmont College in Demorest, GA and a Master of Fine Arts from Instituto Allende, an institution affiliated with the University of Guanajuato in Guanajuato, Mexico. In addition, he holds a Master of Arts in Teaching/Early Childhood Education from Reinhardt University.
In Mexico, Jay had the opportunity to study with artists from all over the world including the countries of Japan, Germany, Finland and Canada. Furthermore, he taught ceramics to undergraduate students at the Instituto Allende. He also has given several workshops focusing on many types of ceramics. Jay’s interest in travel has enriched his craft through his observations and study of cultural differences. He is an Appalachian Trail Thru-Hiker: hiking from Georgia to Maine in 1996. He has also traveled extensively in Alaska, Mexico, Canada and the United States.
The pieces made at Benzel Pottery are all thrown (turned) on a potters’ wheel. After this, the pieces are either carved or altered. This stage gives each piece its individuality. Next, the pieces are allowed to dry for one to two weeks. The pieces are then fired (burned) to a temperature of 1750 degrees Fahrenheit. This process is known as the biscuit process and takes ~ 12 hours. At that time, the pieces are taken out of the kiln and glazed. The pottery is then stacked back in the kiln and glaze fired at 2300 degrees Fahrenheit. This process is known as the glaze fire which takes ~ 10 hours. Finally, the pieces are removed from the kiln and each piece is carefully inspected for faults. Pieces with faults are discarded. Seconds are not sold!