When we purchased our 1812 Vermont farm house we were imagining how we might use the little red barn on the property. I told my husband, “I always wanted to have a pottery studio!” After all, I wasn’t even a potter. I had taken a few classes over the years and loved the medium, but I didn’t know much and had no idea how to manage a studio let alone a small business. So I got started with a few bags of clay, a how-to pottery book, and a used kiln. I think of myself as a (mostly) self-taught ceramic artist. I have been developing my craft through experimentation as I pinch the clay with my hands, roll it out with a rolling pin, and coil snakes to create my clay pieces on a large wooden table that my husband built for me.
I started my career as a full-time elementary school teacher with a Masters in Education (not in Art). I continue to teach part-time in a progressive, independent, school, but I have combined that with my passion for working with clay. Some days are teaching days, and some days are studio days, and on other days I fit in both. In the summer I turn my studio into a Clay Play Studio Art Camp for kids ages 6 and up. I enjoy sharing my love of clay so that youngsters can create their own unique treasures.
Inspirations for my clay work:
My hand-built pottery is inspired by my love of plants, nature, and elements such as fire and water. I often work with plants and flowers that I have hand-collected from my extensive gardens or on my daily walks in the Vermont woods. Also reflected in my work is my love for crystals and natural bodies of water, especially the ocean. I am also moved by the love of mother and child and the whimsical spirit.
Technique and experiences:
All of my work is hand-painted using combinations of slip, under-glaze, and glaze. Though similar patterns and designs are recreated, no two pieces are exactly alike.
Clay is transformational, meditative, and exciting to work with. It changes from a wet, soft substance and undergoes various stages of drying when the piece is fine tuned and decorative techniques are often applied. It goes into the kiln two or more times, and each firing takes nearly a day to fire and then another day to cool.
There are many surprises and sometimes even mini-disasters that can happen during all of the various stages of the clay process. Sometimes when I open the kiln it is and everything is fabulous and beautiful. Other times there are cracks, drips, and breakages. Even when I have done everything the same as before, there are usually surprises. Clay provides the opportunity to accept what life brings and not get too attached. Clay also provides the opportunity for enchantment and magic.