One of my winter projects has been to design lines of work. I originally conceived it as a marketing tool, but it has turned into a delightful creative challenge: to create well-designed functional shapes which communicate a consistent sensibility. My plan was to design two, Cottage and Lodge, but that has morphed to three (and a fourth percolating...this is getting out of hand!) The third is Sweet Life, and is related to some sundae dishes and banana split boats I was making last summer.
With Sweet Life, I am focusing on special-occasion, celebratory pieces: a punch bowl, a cake stand, wine goblets, latte cups. Also some bowls and plates, of course. I am looking for a festive and somewhat formal feel: think summer-wedding-reception. I haven't selected the glaze recipe yet, but it will be an icy clear, with greenish tints where it interacts with the soda.
My plan is to launch it with a gallery show of the bigger pieces and sets - I have a place in mind but haven't asked yet, as I feel like I need to go in with at least a few finished piece before making the approach.
The Lodge line is coming to me fairly easily, facets and tenmoku and flashing slip. The Cottage line I am having a bit more trouble with: I can see the glazes - iron yellow, oribe, and soda-cobalt - but though I've tried some shapes for bowls and mugs, nothing gives me that jumping-up-and-down feeling when you know you've got it just right. If it seems like I have a different project every week, well, I guess I do. ADD is a blessing and a curse! I definitely haven't abandoned vessel sinks, for example; there's just not much more to say about them until they are at least out of the bisque.
Lori Keenan Watts (aka me) is a potter, gardener, and avid reader from Augusta, Maine. Though I started my university education in surface design for fabric, clay quickly grabbed me by the heart and redirected my creative impulses. I have been a potter for over 25 years -- hard to believe. The most valuable years of my ceramic education were spent in graduate study at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, under the tutalage of Dan Anderson and Paul Dresang.
My aesthetic is guided by my love of the material itself. What fascinates me and makes a pot compelling for me is the clay-ness of clay: the squooshiness that becomes the adamantine solidity. I also like patterns, unexpected proportions, and when the flame comes along and dissolves part of my careful decorating efforts! I am obstinate about this aesthetic, to a point which might be called pig-headed, but hey, if you don't like what you make, why bother?
My happy little family also includes my husband, musician and photographer (and author of the book Alewife) Doug Watts; five cats; and a turtle, all foundlings and rescues of one stripe or another.