Ceramics Shape Creativity

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Award-Winning Ceramic By David Arnold Founder of The Partnership

Founder and President of The Partnership Doesnât Mind Getting His Hands Dirty

One of the last classes David Arnold took at the University of South Carolina was in ceramics. It launched a lifelong passion—separate from his chosen career.

“I just loved it,” explained Arnold, who went on to found The Partnership, an integrated digital marketing, design and advertising company. When he’s not behind the lens of a camera, the avid photographer delights in creating ceramics from the garage workshop of his Decatur home.

Arnold’s ceramic work—from 5 inches to a few feet high—has been featured in galleries up and down the East Coast and purchased by such notables as actress Halle Berry and the late Hamilton Jordan, former President Jimmy Carter’s chief of staff.

“I’ve taken courses at Callanwolde [Fine Arts Center], bought DVDs and books and studied on my own in my spare time,” said Arnold. “I love to get on the potter’s wheel and start throwing. The fun thing is to make something out of nothing.”

The decorative designs all come from the garage, where two kilns share space with a small chemistry lab. Arnold likes to experiment with glaze combinations.

“Part of the fun of ceramics is playing around with the chemistry of it and coming up with new glazes that other people don’t do,” he added. “But it also meant I had to up my fire insurance; it seems you’re not a good chemist until you’ve burned down your lab.”

Arnold’s interest in ceramics led to a fascination with Eastern culture. “I got very interested in beauty, how it inspires people and how it finds expression in ceramics,” he said. “I’ve studied Eastern ceramics and philosophies—the colors, the shapes, the forms, the look, the feel. I also learned a lot about tea ceremonies that use these austere cups and utensils.”

At Arnold’s Buckhead office, favorite photos and a range of ceramic works are on display. They’re also crowding out the house he shares with Susan, his high school sweetheart and wife of 34 years.

“I give a lot of them away as gifts, but they still fill the house,” Arnold said with a laugh. “We have art stacked on top of art on top of art. My wife is an interior designer who’s constantly redecorating, so the good news is moving the art around keeps me from having to repaint all the time—it’s easy to hide all those little holes in the walls.”