Gregory Miller ’91

2001 Young Alumni Award

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Gregory Miller describes his current course in life as “the search, the window and the chase.” Everyone is searching for something. If progress is assessed only against external standards, opportunities to explore original and rewarding directions are missed. “Looking through the internal windows on our own lives and work, instead of toward an external standard which is impossible to replicate, whole worlds of ideas appear to be pursued.”

Providing for a fellow student who was blind and nearly deaf gave Miller a window onto the need for a comprehensive campus accessibility policy. He campaigned for this policy and saw it adopted in his senior year. Miller graduated with majors in anthropology and biology, and a budding gift for making pottery. Soon after, he began an apprenticeship with potter Tatsuzo Shimaoka, a Living National Treasure, in Mashiko, Japan. This extraordinary experience became the foundation for his professional work as an independent artist, and for his academic work as a Ph.D. student in anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh, studying aesthetics, process and ritual among Mashiko potters.

Recently, Miller and his wife, Alyne Delaney ’93, returned to Japan for 18 months. While she pursued her Ph.D. research, Miller worked on developing a deeper understanding of Japanese clay and glazes. Miller enjoys sharing his experience through workshops. He has exhibited in numerous solo and small group exhibitions in the U.S. and Japan, and organized two shows of American potters in Mashiko.

In the future, Miller plans to complete his Ph.D., continue to develop connections between potters around the globe, and “make work that people can use in their lives and develop relationships with, maybe even love.”