I met Lou Smedts several years ago when he invited me to Boom to present a workshop of my clay forming, decorating, and Raku firing methods. It took about 2 minutes for us to connect and begin a friendship that has only grown since then. I was honored when he asked me to be the sole American potter to participate in the 2009 International Chawan Exhibition at the Torhouts Pottery Museum. My work has traveled with the group since. In Lou’s spirit of cooperation, mutual support, and friendship, I offered to host the exhibition here as its first American venue. It was then a further honor to have Lou ask me to select a small group of American potters to include in the show. My choices were easy and reflect diversity of approach, geographic location, and personal connections. All are dedicated, committed, and passionate about clay and offer their creative expression through that most simple yet sophisticated of objects; the tea bowl. 
—Steven Branfman, Founder/Director, The Potters Shop & School. Instructor, Thayer Academy. October 2011