Bay Area Belly Dance


After graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis in oil painting from Ohio State University, I hopped a VW bus to California. Hoping to make connections I found a community college offering a clay hand building course. I discovered in my teacher a patient and inspiring mentor who taught hand building in conjunction with primitive firing techniques. Immersed in clay I found I loved the slow-paced, quiet, attention to detail necessary to form pinched and coiled pots.  Basic at first, then paddled, scraped and burnished to a high gloss, we finally carved or decorated the pieces with brushes we had made ourselves in class by chewing on yucca. I was captivated.

Many years have passed since that first pottery class and though my interests are varied, clay kept a hold on me. I've learned I enjoy "throwing pots" as much as I do handbuilding and most of my past and current work utilizes both methods. My appreciation for the often underrated art of creating functional pottery has grown immensely and I find my tasks most interesting when I do functional, then sculptural ceramics intermittently. Though my sculptural work is a gratifying means of self-expression I am most satisfied when I am able to merge beauty with function.

My pieces are fired to cones 5 or 7-8 in either a gas or electric kiln depending on the desired result. I am excited by the capricious nature of gas firing but often rely on the consistency offered by electric kilns. I use a variety of wonderful commercially prepared clay bodies and both "homemade" and commercially prepared glazes.

-  Laurel Grace