I have been making things out of clay off and on since 1983 when I wandered into a pottery studio at college. Unable to stay away from it and enamored with the woodfiring process, I completed an MFA in ceramics and sculpture from the University of Iowa in the early 1990’s. Between raising a family and working full-time, my time in the pottery studio waxed and waned. In 2016, I began seriously making pots again (this time low-fired earthenware) and showed a series of work that drew inspiration from hikes and other outdoor adventures in the Midwest.
Time spent in or near woods, fields, lakes and rivers fed my soul and I found myself translating those experiences into sculptural pots that mirrored the color and textures I so appreciate in nature. I call them landscape vessels. Each is coil built and paddled into shape, impressed with various patterns and then underglazed, fired to cone 04 and finished with several layers of wax and metallic wash. Some are topped off with gold or silver leaf rims that remind me of that sliver of light you see at the horizon during sunset.
More recently, I created another series I refer to as “stacks”. They too are coiled, hollow and handbuilt terra cotta clay, fired with underglazes. These look like the precariously perched rock stacks seen near lakes, rivers and woods. Indeed, those were the inspiration. They are equally at home inside on a piano or outside in the garden – wherever you want to contemplate a calming bit of nature. I make them as a reminder of the beauty and precariousness of our natural world and the important role we all play in balancing preservation with progress.
I have begun a “boat works” series of shallow, oblong shapes with flotsam and jetsam type bits nestled in them like mini shoreline treasures. These pieces are brightly colored with a shiny clear glaze to mimic sunlight on the water. They are made to either be hung on a wall or placed on a tabletop.
Pottery making has been an exercise in slowing down and examining what really matters to me – spending time with those you love and preserving the wild places where we seek inspiration and solace. I hope those who take home my work will feel that connection to the land that inspired it.
Lori received a Bachelor of Arts in English and Art from a private liberal arts college and a Masters of Fine Arts in ceramics and sculpture from the University of Iowa. She exhibited work regularly before moving into part-time teaching, then full time arts management, and for the last twelve years, higher education fundraising and administration. She is happy to be back at the stage of life where there is time to create.
She and her husband, Bill, have two sons, one heading to graduate school in art and the other working in politics. They love to cook, spend time with family and friends and travel when time allows. In addition to her day job and studio work, Lori is active in the arts and non-profit community and volunteers as a member of her city’s arts advisory committee and economic development boards. When her hands are not in clay they are busy knitting or turning the pages of all of the great novels she has yet to tick off her list.