There Was a Potter’s Wheel in the Garage

I was born into a Jewish family and my father worked in the meat business. We left New York City when I was about ten years old and moved to Los Angeles. My older brother was very talented, and I seemed to grow up with the name “Michael’s little brother,” for many years.

Being the second child I was very quiet; I spent a lot of time watching my brother make things. He was a big influence on me. Recently I remembered that when we moved to Los Angeles there was a potter’s wheel in the garage. My mother thought that possibly I would be interested in pottery. She got an old sewing machine type foot-pedal potter’s wheel.

After being a potter for 40 years I wonder why this became my thing. When I look at young kids today I see how open they are to new things. I don’t remember much from being young except for watching my brother build things. I remember the snow in New York, and how nice it was when we moved to Los Angeles.

My mom spent her time basically taking care of the three boys. She was a homemaker. She was very supportive. I think she knew that we were not the normal type of kids. Neither my brother nor I did very well in school. So she created an environment where we could explore. I started doing photography when I was about thirteen, which would have been about 1963. Going through the whole 1960s thing I was a good observer. I was involved to a degree, but when I look back on it now I realize that I like watching what is happening.

My family was the cute “M” family. There was Marvin, Millie, Michael, Maddie, and Merrill. Merrill is a very successful real estate person. He lives near my mother which I am very happy about, and he has two beautiful children. I guess his life is more normal than that of an obsessed artist. He takes care of business.