Laura Ross

Studio Clay

June 28 – August 31, 2013

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful” – William Morris

“I often think of this quote when I am making a batch of freshly made pots as I am constantly thinking of functionality in relation to one’s daily rituals of food and “gathering” with friends as well as making a beautiful object for one’s space in the home. My pots are for living. It has been a joy and great source of pride that I have been able to make a living from this work for almost 30 years. To be able to spend my working life doing what I love to do has been an honor and privilege.

My beginning as a claymaker was a body of sawdust-fired decorative work, which I would sell wholesale to galleries and craft stores throughout the United States. It was a very successful production, however, after several years I wanted to have more of a connection to the user so began making high fired stoneware functional pots – pots that my customers could actually use and enjoy in their daily lives. This body of work was “out of round” or altered in shape then fired in a reduction gas kiln using traditional ash, shino, and iron based glazes. Typically, you would call these “potter’s pots”.

In 2007, Simon Levin came from Wisconsin to build me a soda kiln – a type of kiln causing the pots to have an atmospheric and “accidental” quality. All these changes have one commonality – FUNCTION and the VESSEL FORM.

Most of my pots are wheel-thrown then altered “out-of-round” by changing the shape of the pot when wet and manipulating the clay to reveal its flexibility. This manipulation is important to me as it enhances the liveliness and gives the chance of looking at “freshly touched clay.” I relish the imperfections and tend to take advantage of their life force. For the last four years I have been soda-firing to Cone 10, a process of firing pottery by introducing soda ash into the kiln at a later stage of the firing. The surface created by the combination of soda spray, clay, and flame is rich in texture, the glazes bright with depth and life, and the mystery of “the accidental” is evident. I am home for a while.

In recent years I have been teaching and have found great satisfaction in what my students bring to the studio and me. It has been a wonderful and satisfying experience seeing students who discover the thrill of that first touch of clay or giggle when they make their first good pot.”

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