Sunday, September 12, 2010

All The Comforts Of Home

OK, if you've been following along, you know that before I went back to school I had a business called Comforts Of Home where i made custom quilts.  Well, one of the classes I took while in school was ceramics which rekindled in me a love for all things clay.  The same year that i stopped going to school, my parents retired and moved from New Jersey to Florida.  One of the things that i purchased from them before their move was my Mom's old hobby kiln.  This is when i was making porcelain dolls for everyone and every occassion. 

 But my attention soon turned to historic pottery, predominantly redware. I loved redware. I took every opportunity to study historic pieces, travelling to museums, reading books, anything i could get my hands on.  I even timed a visit to Plimoth Plantation to coincide with our trip to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island so that i could take a pottery workshop there! Through trial and error ( lots of trial and error, there are no how to books out there for redware) I found my way through and soon hit upon a signature look. I formulated my colors and glazes and techniques to give just the appearance I longed for.  My Dad is a woodturner and made some of the wooden molds that i drape my plates over.  Soon after i began to make some of my own molds for larger pieces.  I started doing shows to sell my work and eventually in 2000 started selling online at Ebay.  From there I created my website.
My husband and I renovated an old store near our home and i moved my studio in and began working there in 2002.  I enjoyed everything about what I was doing and the ideas flowed.   Time would disappear while I was there. 

I prided myself in making original designs with lots of historical flavor and would get so annoyed and discouraged to see others copy my pieces. I guess that's what's happens when you put your work out there on the net as so many artists have found. But I had a loyal following and was very grateful for everyone's support.  One of my original ideas was that i would do patriotic pieces and fire them in the kiln on the 4th of July each year. These pieces all were marked with my original Fire-Works signature. It was the only time i would do patriotic themed pieces.

 My pottery actually carried us through a dark time when we had the fire at our restaurant in Nov of 2003 until we reopened in April of 2004.
 I continued to work in my studio along with the restaurant until 2008 when my second grandchild was born.  My daughter could no longer work in the office with the 2 children ( my grandaughter would come to work with her, but 2 would be too hard to do).  I couldn't do both anymore either. Pottery takes a considerable chunk of time that i no longer had.

Feel that wind blowing again?  What did John Lennon say "Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans"?  I have always loved that saying,  just never expected it to be my theme song!!
If you were to go into my studio this day, you would find pieces of pottery, drape molded trenchers and plates and other goodies just sitting there on the table awaiting my return!

I had to find a new creative outlet, one that would allow me to work a little here and there , leave and come back to it and not lose the piece as I would with pottery.
I started to learn jewelry techniques and am expanding on my skills all the time. I have learned lampworking, metalsmithing, cast and fused glass. I have 5 kilns to my name.

This is where you came in...with my first post, here on this blog in June,  "just who do i think I am?" 

In recapping my life thus far i have found out certain things.
  • I Love all things historical
  •  I love glass in all it's forms, mosaics, lampwork, glass glazes on clay, glass enamels on metal, fused glass, stained glass, roman glass, czech glass,  sea glass, you name it, glass wins me every time!
  • I have to be authentic, original
  • I love to learn
  • I. have. to. create. something. all. the. time.
  • I am strong. determined. ambitious.
Now to take everything I know and find my direction!

P.S. I had a small epiphany last night after writing this post. I started to see very clearly why I am finding myself  unsure of my direction. My husband has questioned whether I may be in the wrong medium. I considered that as well but I think it might be more this- as i look back over everything I have done, with each endeavor I started with an idea, a vision, a passion.  I did all the legwork myself, teaching myself what i needed to know and finding my way through all my ideas. 
 With jewelry it has been just the opposite. I have started with classes, instructions in techniques and all the technical aspects of the trade.  I am struggling to find my own way with this medium.
The one series that I did that was original work of mine, Vintage Metamorphosis, I created in 2008 and had copyrighted in March 2009.  I want what i had with all the other work that I have done, a look of my own, identifiable as my own, not just as a student of someone else. Perhaps this will require nothing more than what i gave to everything else, time and effort. I used to have a lot more time to "just be" in my studio. I think that is what is most needed here. Time alone in my studio to think through ideas and find my own way again. With this medium or maybe even another, who knows? That is where my muse resides and I trust she will guide me yet again.


  1. Laura, you just never cease to amaze me! I would have never realized you were such a history with pottery as well...along with quilting. You are so talented at so many mediums, no wonder it is difficult to decide. You must be called in so many directions. But you can always blend them all! You can create ceramic pendants and beads for your jewelry...and you can always add stitched fiber too. You're lucky to have so many skills to draw upon.

  2. It IS hard to decide. I actually started out making greeting cards out of vintage papers and buttons. I've been trying to decide (for six years!) how to make button jewelry and really make it my own (after seeing what is out there) but have yet to do it. Maybe this post will inspire me. Actually, I know it will. Thank you!


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