I have always been inspired by nature from the sublime views from our mountain tops to the quiet beauty of lichens growing on a rock. It is the beauty of age and natural layers formed in ways our hands can never emulate that draw me in. More than just a scene or image it is the story that nature tells that I want to emulate in my pottery.
My work typically begins on the potters’ wheel and is decorated with a variety of surface techniques and a balance of refined and rugged components. I want to maintain evidence of the once soft and malleable clay and the feeling of handmade but also show the skill and technique of an experienced potter. I work in many different firing processes from electric to gas, wood, and the addition of soda vapor. Each one has its own qualities but with all of them I want to build my glazes, stains, and additive fluxes to create an unpredictable finish often having multiple options for a front, and variation all around. In the end, it is this not knowing what will come out but the anticipation and variation that every firing brings that makes it all worthwhile. Robert Walla
I received my B.F.A. in Painting and Art Education from Ohio University in 1999. Shortly after that, I moved to North Carolina and I discovered the art of bonsai at the 1999 Carolina Bonsai Expo. I realized that instead of painting from nature’s inspiration I could sculpt using trees and plants from nature. Having some knowledge of clay from my undergraduate degree I started exploring how I could make containers for bonsai and other horticultural plantings. When I went back to school to receive my master's degree I choose to explore ceramics further and In 2007 completed my M.A.E.d. from Western Carolina University focusing on ceramics, bonsai, and their connections to art education. This is also where I learned about wood firing and soda glazing techniques that I often use in my work. I currently live in Columbus, NC, with my beautiful wife and two sons. I teach high school and art and enjoy growing a collection of bonsai, competing in endurance sports, and running a pottery out of my house. I recently built a new hybrid kiln that I can fire with wood and gas, and am enjoying using that along with my electric kiln to create one-of-a-kind high-quality bonsai containers.