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Dan Finnegan

Biography to Display: 

1955 Born Buffalo, New York


1978-1979 Trained with Ray Finch, Winchcombe Pottery Gloucestershire, England


1980-1983 Manager, Fredericksburg Pottery, Virginia

1984—Studio Potter, Dan Finnegan Studio Pottery, Fredericksburg, Virginia

1994-1997 Faculty Member, Torpedo Factory Art Center, Alexandria, Virginia

2001-2013 Founder, Liberty Town Arts Workshop, Fredericksburg, Virginia

2012—Curator, Pottery on the Hill, Washington, DC


Dan Finnegan is known for wood fired and salt glazed wheel-thrown functional stoneware pottery. Finnegan makes a diverse range of functional work ranging from traditional to experimental forms. He uses various techniques: adding decorative sprigs, sculptural elements, and chatter marks. 

One way chattering is accomplished is by letting a metal object bounce on and off the surface of an unfired glazed object that is turning on the wheel and in the process removing bits of glaze. The effect may resemble a dense overall calligraphic pattern. 

Finnegan is also known for his non-functional sculptural work which may employ trompe l’oeil books and often anthropomorphic birds engaged in questionable human activities such as gambling with dice or in murder scenes vignettes. His work is always wood fired and salt glazed in various colors.

Finnegan’s pottery is influenced by his time at Winchcombe Pottery in England. Winchcombe was led by Michael Cardew and later by Ray Finch who hired Finnegan in 1978. By the time Finnegan returned to the U.S. he had embraced the aesthetics of the Winchcombe style and continued to honor its traditions by continuing to develop his unique style. Dan Finnegan founded Liberty Town Arts Workshop in 2001. It started as a small pottery school that turned into a center for arts and crafts with over 50 participating local artists.

Public Collections

Public Collections to Display: 

Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, California

National Bonsai and Penjing Museum, Washington, DC

Weismann Art Museum, Minneapolis, Minnesota




Typical Marks

Since 2001, all of Dan Finnegan’s pots are marked with a sprig created when he presses clay into a mold which leaves it raised on the pot’s surface.


Large Pitcher with Lobes
Date: 2000
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown and Altered
Surface Technique: Salt Glaze, Slip, Woodfire
Photo: Artist
Photo: Artist
Ginger Jar
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Chattering, Slip
Photo: Artist
Photo: Artist
Photo: Artist

Citation: Herrera, Carolyn. "The Marks Project." Last modified June 7, 2023.