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Doug Oertli


Doug chose McMurry College in Abilene, Texas as the starting point to his legal career. His major was speech and his minor was philosophy. Thanks to a liberal arts education, he had his choice between British Literature or an art class. In 1985, he chose pottery. He went to college to become a lawyer and came out a potter. It is said that his mom is still mad. After graduating college, Doug did not give a second thought to pottery. He went on to work for almost 4 years in juvenile justice. When he was twenty seven years old someone ask him what we wanted to do with his life; he blurted out, “I want to make pots and sell them.” He has said that 90% of his life cleared up. He got a divorce and that took care of the other ten. In 1996 he moved to San Angelo, Texas and became resident artist at the Old Chicken Farm Art Center. He worked there until the property next to the Chicken Farm came up for sale and he started his current journey in 2001. Doug started out as strictly a functional potter. Over the twenty five years of honing his craft he has become more of a raku artist. Although he still does functional pottery, the bulk of his work is centered in the field of bright colorful raku work. Doug’s philosophy about his work is that he likes to manage the process over trying to control the process. It is best illustrated by a large heart that he was commissioned to do for a tribute museum at a hospital in Houston. After working several weeks on constructing this heart, it still did not feel right. In a moment of carelessness, the heart rolled off the table and hit the floor. It was at that moment that the heart was complete, because it had an element of spontaneity. So, by managing the process over controlling the process, it produces a higher probability of spontaneity. The magic is in the spontaneity.




A wonderful serenity has taken possession of my entire soul, like these sweet mornings of spring which I enjoy with my whole heart. I am alone, and feel the charm of existence in this spot, which was created for the bliss of souls like mine.

I am so happy, my dear friend, so absorbed in the exquisite sense of mere tranquil existence, that I neglect my talents. I should be incapable of drawing a single stroke at the present moment; and yet I feel that I never was a greater artist than now.

When, while the lovely valley teems with vapour around me, and the meridian sun strikes the upper surface of the impenetrable foliage of my trees, and but a few stray gleams steal into the inner sanctuary, I throw myself down among the tall grass by the trickling stream; and, as I lie close to the earth, a thousand unknown plants are noticed by me: when I hear the buzz of the little world among the stalks, and grow familiar with the countless indescribable forms of the insects and flies, then I feel the presence of the Almighty, who formed us in his own image.

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