Naysan McIlhargey


Naysan McIlhargey founded Miami Valley Pottery in 2004 with his wife, Jalana. The Pottery is located just outside the charming village of Yellow Springs where he grew up and was first exposed to the ceramic arts. As part of the Yellow Springs High School’s “Community Experience” program he spent two years working in the studio of David & Keiko Hergesheimer. He then spent the next four years at Earlham College studying Ceramics with Mike Theideman, who worked with Warren McKenzie. Warren McKenzie was Bernard Leach’s first American apprentice. McKenzie introduced the Leach tradition of functional studio pottery to the United States.

After graduation from Earlham, Naysan returned to Yellow Springs and worked for three years in the Community Pottery. It was during this time that he realized that he needed more training and chose apprenticeship rather than graduate school. He began by working with Cary Hulin at Holmes County Pottery in Ohio. Naysan then joined his mentor, Todd Piker, at Cornwall Bridge Pottery in Connecticut, where he spent over two years. Todd had apprenticed with Michael Cardew, who was in fact Bernard Leach’s very first apprentice.

Naysan’s apprenticeship at Cornwall Bridge Pottery initiated him into a long tradition of woodfire potters who trace a direct lineage back to Michael Cardew, Bernard Leach and Shoji Hamada. His apprenticeship taught him the technical skills necessary to produce large quantities of functional ware, and more importantly provided him with an understanding of what qualities distinguish a beautiful pot and a successful pottery.