When Judi Munn was young, she told her mother that she wanted to be an artist when she grew up.
Her mother told her that artists have holes in their socks.
So Judi went to college, got her teaching certificate and her master’s degree. But Art has a strong voice. When Judi had a chance to apprentice with potters Becki and David Dahlsted at the Ozark Folk Center, she took it. Now Judi Munn is an award-winning potter – and her art is so beautiful no one will notice if she has holes in her socks.
Judi has a quiet intensity about her when she is at work. People watch intently, whether she is throwing a pot or trimming a platter or decorating a mug.  “It’s a balance of showing people what I do,” said Judi, “and doing what I need to do to produce the highest quality work that I can. I’ve gotten better at making all aspects of my work interesting to people. Now I can engage people in the task I’m involved in.”  Judi works almost every day in the pottery shop that she shares with her husband John Perry and their son Kai. They have a wide variety of beautiful pottery for sale in their shop and in many other places throughout the United States.
“I love doing a variety of work,” Judi said. “The Ozark Folk Center is a great place for that. We have three different types of kilns. It fits our family; we can do all kinds of things. Here I’m not limited by the expectations of clients. We have a fresh crowd every day. There’s lots of freedom in this situation.”
Judi wrote the Arkansas Heritage Foundation grant proposal to build the groundhog kiln at the Ozark Folk Center. Her studies of past pottery methods show in the displays and signs around the shop. “It’s important to connect modern pottery with the historic reasons for it,” explained Judi. She explained that most of the items they make today would not have been made by potters in the last century, who made crocks, bowls and strictly functional food holding items.
“I like connecting our work to archeology,” said Judi, her eyes traveling around the shop. “This work will be around in 30,000 years. The shards will last longer than anyone’s last name.”  One of Judi’s current passions is message bottles. She designed and makes each one of these beautiful glazed bottles with a hidden message inscribed inside. Judi finds the inspirational messages in many places and writes them on a tablet that is sealed inside the bottle. Her fascination combines the future and the past.   “By the time some of these bottles get dug up, no one will know English,” she muses.
Judi started at the Ozark Folk Center as an apprentice, something she is continually grateful for. She and John follow in that tradition by taking qualified apprentices. “I’m really grateful to be here,” said Judi. “This is where I’m supposed to be. I get to teach, make pots and talk to people.”

Visit Judi in the Pottery Shop in the Craft Village at the Ozark Folk Center Tuesday through Saturday from 10 to 5.