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100 Creatives: James Herring, Master Potter and Avid Maker

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In honor of our annual MasterMind Awards, which reward Miami's creative talent with citywide recognition and sweet, sweet cash, New Times proudly presents "100 Creatives," where we feature the 305's cultural superheroes. Want to be a MasterMind? Learn how to enter here, and get your tickets to Artopia March 2, when we'll announce the winners.

73. James Herring

In Miami, you hear a lot about art, but not so much about craft. James Herring's work in ceramics fuses the two. Herring eschews the title of "artist" and sees the resurgence of crafts and craftsmanship as a necessity for human growth in modern times. An outspoken supporter and practitioner of the maker movement, Herring has maintained a presence locally by doing demonstrations and leading classes and workshops on the ancient craft. Aside from working with numerous maker spaces and maker-related activities, Herring is a member of the Ceramic League of Miami — one of the oldest and best-regarded cultural institutions in South Florida.

Herring's work marries Eastern philosophy with a youthful enfant terrible attitude. Simply put, he's a master potter with a deep knowledge of the form, and he's happy to share. Have you ever walked around Coral Gables and wondered about those historic plates on some structures? Herring is the one making them now. Gotta get a gift for your artsy friend who has it all? Consider a one-of-a-kind piece of ceramic.

To find artistry within a craft, the craftsman must be a true artist. Herring proves the old ways are the best ways and invites us to rediscover our curiosity by getting our hands dirty and making something.
List five things that inspire you.
The simple beauty of everyday objects.
Manipulating the fire.
Japanese aesthetics.
Mingei philosophy.
The work of Joseph Beuys.

What was your last big project?
Building a ceramics program at Miami Industrial Arts.

What's your next big project?
Starting a not-for-profit called the Material Arts Alliance. The Material Arts Alliance is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion of art and design that values the intrinsic qualities of materials as an integral part of their production.

What do you want Miami to know about you? What don't you want Miami to know about you?
Miami can pretty much know anything it wants about me. I was born here, a native child, and I will likely die here, so not many secrets.

What's one thing you want people to know about Miami?
Miami is a model of the future of this country. It is a multicultural community that is working through now what the rest of the country will have to work through going forward… living together.

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