Portraits of Elders: Jill Hinckley


From ballet, we turn to touching people's lives through a different kind of art and in this case, pottery. For the past four decades, 74-year-old Jill Hinckley has been teaching people how to make hand-crafted bowls, tea kettles and more at Hinckley Pottery, her shop in Adams Morgan. She recently spoke with producer Marc Adams about her career.


I don't think that I have planned much in my life. I wish I had. I mean, I've thought about it. When I was younger, I thought, well, I'll be an English teacher. When I was very young, I thought I'll be a veterinarian. But then you learn, oh ,you don't really maybe have the skills to be a veterinarian because you cry too much when you see blood or, you know, any number of things sort of rule out your plans. But some people make a plan and actually stick to it and I, you know, I think that's wonderful. But that didn't happen to me.


I started doing it when I was 29. I was a gallery owner at that point and I had space and so I decided to have pottery lessons in the gallery. And I hired a couple of guys to teach and I thought, whoa, this is cool. I'll watch these guys. And finally, I started apprenticing and learning all I could about pottery. And then, within a year or two, I started teaching children and beginners. And then maybe in another year or so I started teaching everybody. I really love teaching. I love explaining things to people and I like just knowing them.


You can see what nice people I have here. And what a variety of weirdoes I have. And we call them weirdoes because they are. They're very cool weirdoes. Sometimes I wish I had had a kid, but I have two little dogs over there and that probably is about the best I can do. But I don't think I'm so good at that mother stuff, not nearly as good as the mothers that I have known. So I think it all worked out for the best. I'm happy, I'm very happy with my life. Couldn't be any happier, I don’t think.


That was 74-year-old potter, Jill Hinckley. We'll be hearing another audio postcard of an extraordinary elder in D.C. later in the show.
Transcripts of WAMU programs are available for personal use. Transcripts are provided "As Is" without warranties of any kind, either express or implied. WAMU does not warrant that the transcript is error-free. For all WAMU programs, the broadcast audio should be considered the authoritative version. Transcripts are owned by WAMU 88.5 FM American University Radio and are protected by laws in both the United States and international law. You may not sell or modify transcripts or reproduce, display, distribute, or otherwise use the transcript, in whole or in part, in any way for any public or commercial purpose without the express written permission of WAMU. All requests for uses beyond personal and noncommercial use should be referred to (202) 885-1200.