Laurie was so gracious to let me peek into her studio while she worked. She said she prefers to work on her own, mostly in her studio space tucked in the corner of the entrance of Queen City Clay, one of the largest pottery studios in North America. I was drawn not only by the detail of her work but also the contemporary drawings and colors. Her featured work is simplicity -- animal prints on clay in soft pastel colors.
She's been working in ceramics for more than ten years, and her skills in drawing show. After graduating with a Fine Arts degree from UC DAAP, she went to Berkeley to work for a small ceramic studio, but affordability of this city brought her back home. She worked in what used to be Funky Fired Arts (now Queen City Clay) on a part-time basis in exchange for a studio space. "I love how tall the ceiling is and how this place always brought inspiration to me. Sometimes I would never leave."
When I came in, she was working, not for herself, but for the studio, fixing "keepsake" ornaments orders that were neatly arranged at the table. "Madeline" was the name. She cut the clay, softened the edges and then it would lay dry for a bit before getting a piercing before firing in kiln. "Maybe it is selfish, but I love the idea that clay is a bit more permanent than paper, sometimes ceramics outlives us. The idea that artists want to have a piece of themselves to live longer is what made me wanted to do this." She went on to mention that the kiln that the studio uses is a high firing kiln, which is rare and will result in stronger ceramics than the low firing kiln.
Lately she's been working on a collaborative project with her ten-year-old nephew, drawing his artwork on the refrigerator magnets that are ready to sell. The funds collected go toward savings for his college.
For her next project, she will produce small pendants with writings that speak to her political beliefs, such as "nasty woman", or "nevertheless she persisted". It is her form of activism, and I told her I want one.
I'll be back to the studio to see her next process of drawing on ceramics. Stay tuned!