TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WAWV/WTWO) – A local potter has been teaching students about the art of clay for almost six decades.

Rogier Donker wandered into the art shortly after immigrating to the United States from Holland back in 1963.

“In college, I wound up realizing at that time my Dutch education was way ahead of the American education system,” Donker said. “So my college classes were really easy.”

This is when Donker started to wander in between classes to go to the fine arts department to fiddle with clay.

“Soon after I got invited to go to a teacher’s workshop,” Donker said. “Now mind you I’m 21 years old and my English is not exactly what it is today.”

During the workshop, Donker met a gentlemen from the American Art Clay Company (AMACO) which is the largest clay manufacturer.

“Next thing you know I am transferred to Indiana University in Bloomington Indiana which is just a stone’s throw away from Indianapolis from AMACO,” Donker said.

Since then Donker has traveled all over the United States to teach students and teachers how to work with clay in the classroom.

Sullivan High School Senior Payton Templeton said learning pottery from Donker has been quite an enjoyable experience.

“It is a completely new world learning from him,” Templeton said. “I thought I knew what I was doing, then I came here it was just a whole new world.”

Donker said he can’t put a number on the amount of projects he’s thrown on the potters’ wheel.

“In between it all I was also a production potter and I would throw 25,000 coffee mugs and 25,000 ice tea glasses a year,” Donker said. “This was every year for 12 years.”

Donker said the Clay City Pottery Festival was among one of his many fond memories during his career.

“For 32 years I was the spokesman for the clay city pottery festival,” Donker said.

Although Donker won’t be at the 2022 Clay City Pottery Festival, he encourages the public to attend and ask questions via Facebook.

This years festival will be Saturday June 11th from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Clay City Pottery Stoneware.