Jim Wallace has been creating and teaching pottery for over 40 years. How did he go from his modest studio and classroom to building a massive potter’s wheel and hopefully the largest clay pot in the world? Simple, it started with professional curiosity.
“I’ve worked in pottery for 46 years and once in awhile I’ve run across the idea of ‘what would it take to make a really large pot?’ Students I’ve had at a couple of different universities asked the same question. Last fall I looked into the question by going to google and entering the term ‘world’s largest pot.’ From that search I learned that there is a claim in South Korea that’s been verified,” Wallace explained.
At first he dismissed the idea, because he liked to create pottery for reasons other than labels of “largest pot,” but the question of what it would take kept at him. The largest ceramic pot in the world, according to Guinness World Records, is about 8 ft. tall, 5 1/2 ft. in diameter.
“According to my documentation of what a square inch of clay weighs, it probably weighed 3/4 of a ton … An average potter’s wheel holds about 200 lbs, I’ve heard of one that held 300 (lbs.). What I want to do is a piece that takes the record and maybe goes a bit beyond this,” Wallace said.
He decided he wanted to do it for the challenge, but also to start a conversation about marijuana legalization. He hopes to call it Big Pot USA, and he’ll tour to capitols of states considering marijuana legislation, with the world’s largest ceramic pot in tow.
To him, it’s important people start talking about the legalization of marijuana as an inevitable reality, in one form or another. In his own life, the question has arisen from friends who support medical marijuana after watching lives being destroyed by opiate drugs prescribed by doctors. Also, his brother is a criminal justice professor in Missouri and has concerns about how a minor drug charge can set someone’s life back, sometimes permanently.
He said it’s not his place to take a position, just to spark conversation. To do this, he’ll need to build a specially designed pottery wheel, partly underground with a cement foundation bolted to the floor. He’s started a crowd funding project to help him implement this design and complete the Big Pot USA project.
“I’m doing some welding already even though I have to buy some more steal for parts of the potter’s wheel … If there’s any money left over I’ll use it to fix up the trailer for aesthetic purposes to go out on the road with this.”
To help Wallace fund his project and hit the road to spark conversation, or just find out more, visit Big Pot USA’s gofundme.com project at www.gofundme.com/70pfrw/. Keep up with him at www.facebook.com/bigpotusa.