Page 13: The most unusual pottery maker in the world - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Page 13: The most unusual pottery maker in the world

Inside Potter Steve Barney's studio at the Bay St. Louis Creative Arts Center. (Photo source: Facebook) Inside Potter Steve Barney's studio at the Bay St. Louis Creative Arts Center. (Photo source: Facebook)
BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) -

Making art can be fun. Just ask potter Steve Barney. He makes pots and teaches kids about science and engineering with an incredible machine he invented.

The gears pull the belts and turn the potter's wheel while Barney makes unique creations out of clay at his studio inside the Bay St. Louis Creative Arts Center. This is a wild and precise contraption.

Barney tells a fantastic story about how he was inspired after moving to the coast and studying George Ohr, the Mad Potter of Biloxi.

"He came to me in a dream and told me to build the most interesting pottery machine," Barney recalled. "This is my dream and I've been spending the last three years trying to make it work. I'm always adding more stuff to it."

Stuff like flashing lights and mannequin arms. The plastic arms and hands actually serve a purpose. 

"Each one of these mannequin arms performs a task I would be doing. The drill press allows me to push down and make a hole in the center. It saves me from doing labor intensive tasks," Barney said.

Barney considers himself an educator. He works in the Steam Punk Pottery Project and reaches out to students involved in what's called STEM which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. He has a very effective way of demonstrating the importance of learning.

"My idea is to integrate science and engineering into the process of making pottery. Let's bring it all together." according to Barney.

This is where it gets interesting. Steve Barney uses his head to shape the pottery. There's more. He then defies gravity by hoisting himself into the air and forming his pots.

"I'm the only potter in the world to hang upside down," Barney said.

Steve Barney's approach to making art, his one of a kind pottery machine, and the way he teaches kids about science and engineering makes him multi-talented.

"It's a little bit performance and a little education," said Barney.

Steve Barney takes his pottery machines to schools and festivals and he teaches classes at the Bay St. Louis Creative Arts Center.

Copyright 2017 WLOX. All rights reserved. 

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