I cannot recall a time in my life when I did not yearn to create. As a child growing up in Pittsburgh, I was often drawing and working on various crafts. I remember being very young, maybe even as young as four, hand sewing tiny pillows for my dolls with fabric scraps. By 2nd grade, my drawings seemed to stand out as my art teacher asked me to design the cover of the program for a school play. By 4th grade, I was selected to attend Saturday art classes at Carnegie Mellon University. This was quite an honor as the school art teacher could only select one child from each school.
I threw my first pot in high school and still recall quite specifically what drew me. It was that the materials were recyclable all the way up until you fired them. If I messed up, I could return the clay to its former usable condition, even if it were bone dry. I could not do that with a sheet of watercolor paper. And, somehow, this concept was very freeing. I did not worry about making a mistake that "cost" something. And so I kept going.
So I went on to college with an art scholarship and earned degrees in Art Education and Interior Design. I still spent all my time in the Ceramics Studio but lacked the vision for how someone created art for a living.
I taught ceramics at a camp during those college summers and kept at clay through the ups and downs of a design career, a marriage, moving away from my hometown, teaching elementary school, and raising my children. Through it all, clay seemed a grounding influence for me.
My kids grew up with wonky cups and bowls in the cupboards. There was not a matched set of dishes in our home a single year of their childhood. I recall thinking there was no point since little hands dropped things anyway. Why invest in the "good stuff?"
Little did I realize, we were already using the "good stuff" and it was only through the luck of this crazy time, that I received the gift of witnessing the connection between handcrafted dishes and ordinary moments.
As a potter, of course, I had my favorite cup and saw how a meal served on one-of-a-kind dishes seemed to impart this extra level of connection but when I witnessed my family and friends experiencing this, that is when I started paying attention.
What exactly makes your morning coffee better in a specific cup? And how can pottery contribute to a warm and memorable meal? And what qualities encourage an unspoken dialog between the food and the ceramics, between the user and the cup?
It's been 40 years now, since the first time I touched clay and I am still answering those questions. As I raised my kids, pottery was a thing I squeezed in around soccer practice and PTA meetings. And as they gained independence, I gained more time (and equipment!). I have spent the last 20 years, thoroughly devoted to this craft and finding ways to support myself with art. In my 50s, I feel like I am just hitting my stride and eagerly dive in deeper every day.
LIVING MY DREAM
Today, I currently reside in a beautiful brownstone in the Historic District of Roswell, Georgia with an 8 yr old English Cream Golden Retriever named Dallas and a 14 year old long haired orange and white tabby named Warren. Both are quirky special needs 'foster fails.'
I have a sweet studio set up -1200 sf consuming most of the basement level of my home with a lovely moon garden courtyard just out the back. My kids are now 28, 26, and 24 and living on their own with the occasional bounce back for a few months here and there during Covid. I love the freedom of working from home and feel so fortunate living amidst a beautiful walkable historic district.
Thank you for following along with my journey, and welcome to Vesselry.
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