Heart of Texas Magazine

Brian Burckhardt: The Making of a Texas Potter

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All photos courtesy of Hill Country Pottery

You’ve heard people say, “I wasn’t born in Texas, but I got here as fast as I could.” That could be Brian Burckhardt’s motto. Burckhardt, the owner of Hill Country Pottery, was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. But even as a child, he hated the cold, winter weather in Minnesota. With a desire for outdoor living and a longing to study ceramics in a warm climate, Burckhardt picked Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas. Southwestern has over 8,000 courses in art and more than 300 of them feature ceramics. Brian enrolled and immediately embraced the area.

How does an outdoorsman get into ceramics? By accident. Burckhardt needed a high school elective, and on a lark, enrolled in a ceramics class. He says, “Those professors inspired me with their classes and studios, and I determined I could earn a living at a job I enjoyed.” Burckhardt’s been making ceramics since 1996 and opened his gallery in 2009.

In Georgetown, Burckhardt encountered the Hill Country. It was the perfect spot for a man who appreciates the outdoors, and he soon decided the Hill Country was an ideal place for a studio. But, Burckhardt didn’t establish one immediately. He enjoyed traveling and working in the fitness industry.

Although art is his love, Burckhardt graduated Southwestern University in 2001 with a degree in Kinesiology. He was one art history class away from a second degree in Studio Art: Ceramics. Instead of the needed history class, he chose an independent, hands-on class. He learned about handmade dinner sets and doesn’t regret not obtaining a second degree in Art. After graduation, he took time off for travel, outdoor living, and fitness training.

While visiting South Padre, Texas, Burckhardt met and married his wife, Shauna. They’d travel to the Texas Hill Country on weekends and eventually settled down in the area. Their two children are native Texans.

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