“Wheel to Thrive…”

Upon graduating high school in Long Island, New York, Andrew MacCorkindale served gas for about a year and then went into the Air Force. While there, he became an artist making signs for flying bombers. MacCorkindale was somewhat of their muse, telling them how well they did by showing a sign with color – red, black, blue or white.

When he was done making maps for the pilots, he would go into his room and paint. It was there he became a painter; painting and painting away on a piece of cloth. After four years in the Air Force making signs and painting, he went back to Long Island and got a job marking things on the wall at the NY Stock Exchange. Back then, computers didn’t do the work; instead it was about twenty guys on the phone with people all around America, occasionally needing to change cost stocks and would yell MacCorkindale’s name off, letting him  know what to change. While picking up a black marker and writing on the wall was keeping him busy, MacCorkindale went home to Long Island after his father had passed away to take care of the family business.

At the time, his father owned an Advertising company that worked with newspapers. MacCorkindale tried to get his gripping on things in the company, but just couldn’t meet what the company needed eye-to-eye. The company was making no money and soon felt short. MacCorkindale went into the city to meet up with friends from the Air Force, who were at the time, taking courses at a local university. His friends got into a conversation about ‘Sand Candles,’ a process where you heat up wax and pour it into a mold of sand, making any shape and color desired.

With inspiration on the horizon, MacCorkindale went home, bought a stove and set it in the backyard of his apartment. He heated up some wax, got the sand handy and started experimenting. Within three years, he made a half a million dollars making and selling ‘Sand Candles.’ He sold all over the west side of America, shipping them through UPS. They were very attractive, hand-shaped molds and original pieces of work, with just a little bit of wet sand and hot wax. MacCorkindale continued creating these special candles until a guy in the mafia got word of his success and during an art show broke into his belongings and stole all of his molds and designs. With not knowing where to turn, MacCorkindale left New York and moved to Portland, Oregon, where he currently resides.

With a new atmosphere and new people, MacCorkindale got to thinking. Instead of sand, he used plaster and over the years, he learned to design only something he could do, by himself, and it couldn’t be copied. He was an artist making clay work, on the wheel, by hand. He learned to shape the things he created by making sand candles and then going to work on the wheel. He was doing very well, galleries ordering all over the United States for his ceramic creations; but the orders came faster than he could produce, forcing him to figure out an improved way, or having to shut down altogether.

He took his mold idea and used a technique most only use to cut wood. From there, he was able to make all his same originals, just faster and more “perfect.” From there, the only things thought about are the shape on the wheel, what glaze to put on it, firing the piece and hoping they’re beautiful.

For the last ten years, MacCorkindale has lived with his partner, Theresa Vanderkid, who through her help, love and understanding has helped him to follow his own path after his life-threatening boating accident. Those who know him best joke and say, “Andrew, you’ve never lost your touch, actually you seem better now.” With a giggle, MacCorkindale states, “my hands have not forgotten how to shape things and the art of the world around me is still in my heart.”