Paulus could, at a minimum, be described as quirky, though some would say he was wildly eccentric. No cell phone. No email account. Making clay pinch pots that he returned to the Earth instead of firing and selling, Paulus was a pipe-smoking, barefoot-in-summer-grass, NPR-loving, committed to-slow-and-savor hermit of sorts. He was a queer artist living the simplest life I’d ever touched—or, better said, that ever touched me.
But Paulus did more than live differently. Paulus revealed new worlds. This world revolved around a profound love of craft, but not just any craft. Craft that centered around connection, belonging, reverence for the Earth, and beauty. Craft that was about process over product. The how, not the what.
When I first met Paulus Berensohn, I was 16 with a fresh-off-the-press driver’s license and a world that could still be packed into my knapsack. I knew nothing of his book Finding One’s Way with Clay. I knew nothing of his work that furthered the notion that creativity is universal. I knew nothing of the thousands of lives he’d touched through his teachings. To me, he was my fairy godfather (a title he coined and lived into with grace), and he was magic.