Al Jaeger’s signature technique is to create pottery and ceramic works that are comprised of primordial elements of the earth itself — the rocks and gravel and sand and dirt of the Granite State’s landscape is swept up in a powerful alchemy. There is a rough-hewn elegance to his pieces, some of which present almost like cross-sections of the ground you might see in an archeological dig. He embraces the cracks, and pocks, and imperfections into compelling works that are made of materials which both predate — and will outlast — us all.
Al sculpts and fires his works in an off-the-grid world of his own creation, nearly 200 acres he steadily acquired in Deerfield over the decades where the home, studio, and even a pond on the property were hewn with his own hand. Just as the timbers for the structures and rocks for walls and gardens have been sourced from the land, so too has the land fed his works. His close connection to this piece of land has been an ever-green and prolific source of inspiration and raw material.
Al Jaeger’s work is well-known and well collected, including by the Currier Museum of Art, and some large-scale commissions such as one at the Superior Court in Brentwood. He has been represented by prominent galleries over his long career, including local favorites such as McGowan Fine Art, Millbrook, the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen, and Kelley Stelling Contemporary.
Al Jaeger has mentored and taught generations of ceramic artists. His studio and the New Hampshire Potter’s Community Kiln on his land are the epicenter of a de facto artist’s colony where multiple artists live and make ceramic and pottery work. This synergy between artists, whether through communal firing days, informal workshops, and annual open studio tour days, has allowed for a pottery renaissance in this small town. This informal and thriving community is one of Mr. Jaeger’s greatest living legacies.
Al also brought ceramics into institutional education in the Granite State. Most notably, in 1994, Mr. Jaeger founded the BFA Program in Ceramics at the New Hampshire Institute of Art and directed it for a number of years. He has juried clay for the League of NH Craftsmen for more than thirty years and has been juried to showcase his own work through the League since 1982. Just as Lotte Jacobi would become a mentor to several extraordinary photographers such as Minor White and Gary Samson, Al can be rightfully called the dean of New Hampshire potters and he has inherited a tradition and path forged by Mary and Edwin Scheier and Gerry Williams.