Proud veteran and West Point grad, I ended up in North Carolina, where I found the ceramics hobby shop on base when my husband deployed. There I learned how to handbuild from an experienced potter. When the shop soon transitioned to contracted management and inexperienced shopkeepers repeatedly overfired my work, I set up my own workshop, experimenting and learning on the internet how to throw. My husband and I built a kickwheel, which was soon replaced by an electric wheel. I started selling my work in November 2016, and in June 2020 I transitioned from being a “corporate-business-owner-with-a-pottery-hobby” to being a “potter.”
I work in a 12x12 window-full workshop set across a small stream among the ferns in the woods of Stella, North Carolina. Horizontal space is limited, so drying and storage goes vertical. The wheel in the corner splatters the windows that don't get cleaned often enough. I monitor each piece carefully as it dries and carry it to the kiln. A very small operation.
Pottery was the souvenir my parents brought back from every place we went, each piece chosen to represent that place, with the potter’s mark on the bottom. Embracing my home in NC is reflected in my own pottery. It seems appropriate, forming a chunk of the very land itself, through an intimate, engaged process, into a practical object that reflects the plants and animals that share the land. I am inspired by these plant and animal neighbors, by the idea that memories and heirlooms connect us to our loved ones, by things that are made by someone’s hands, and by shared humanity. I explore these ideas to create themes that celebrate the personal connection with nature and with other humans, and often use artifacts of these things—plant leaves, animal footprints, heirloom lace—to shape my work.
When I first started making my own pottery, it was driven by the need for a perfect vessel for a particular food: a plate for sardines with a line of mustard, bowls for pho, a big tea mug. Making clumsy pottery taught me lessons about making things better: about handle shape appropriate for leverage on a big mug, flat bottoms that don’t retain dishwater when drying upside down, shapes and edges that are comfortable for hands and lips. I make pottery for people who love the art in the practical, who love useful things made by someone’s hands.
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