is a Marywood Alumni as well as a local potter until she recently packed her bags and moved to a farm in Vermont. Her outlook on not only life, but clay, is something that is truly fascinating. For someone that didn’t initially know what she wanted to do out of high school, it’s become clear that clay worked out in her favor.
I graduated high school and was so unsure of what I wanted to do. I decided I would attend Marywood, not declare a major and try to figure it out. Around the same time, my parents bought a big beautiful piece of land in Pennsylvania. I found myself thinking more about all the things I could do on the land, and less about school work. It was pretty obvious I felt a real connection with it, so I took a semester off, packed up my expedition and headed to the University of Vermont’s Farmer Training Program. It was a six months, hands on course that taught me way more than just farming. It changed the way I looked at the world. I knew when the program was over I would return to Marywood, but this time seeking something else. I fell in love with the idea that I could grow food and eat off of plates I made. I declared ceramics as my major and that was the best decision of my life.
The teachers I had the joy of studying under changed my life. I owe a lot to Skip Sensbach, Matt Povse, Nan Burti and Eva Polizzi. They were my guiding lights in figuring out the clay world.
Graduation Year: 2017
What drew you to ceramics?
I couldn’t center when I started throwing. It was the most impossible and frustrating thing to me. I watched everyone else around me center these big hunks of clay and I couldn’t even control one little pound. Matt Povse would sit with me, tell me what I was doing wrong, center my clay (so I knew it could be done) and then knock it off center so I had to do it myself.
I was a pretty amateur potter making uneven, heavy pots for a while. It wasn’t until I got asked if I’d like to put a piece in Nan Burti’s wood kiln that something clicked inside of me. I was so excited I got to have a little space in that magical kiln. I helped split wood, load, brick the door, fire and unload that firing, and learned more in that short period of time then I did in years. I have participated in every wood firing at Burti Ceramics since because of how amazing it is. The information I’ve learned standing around that kiln is immeasurable.
Tips for amateur potters:
If there is one thing I could tell anyone that is just starting out as a potter it is simply to center yourself before you center your clay. Find your rhythm with the wheel. Listen to the clay. Touch pots with a purpose. Make things your truly proud of, things your grandchildren will want to use. Bad throwing days happen to everyone. Keep throwing. Repeat your favorite song 1,000 times if that’s what it takes to throw from your soul. Pottery is truly magic and if you want to be apart of it, never give up.
Where are you now?
My dreams became reality when I moved back to Vermont this fall. I currently live at Old Soul Farm in Barre, Vermont. The farm is run by my two closest friends from the Farmer Training Program. My studio is in the basement of the farm house and the room right next door to the studio is a beautiful commercial kitchen, so it really keeps me on track to continue throwing functional kitchenware. I am a strong believer that food is medicine and want to continue working towards making pottery that inspires people to cook more meals at home.
I recently bought a medium sized Skutt kiln. It will be powered by the solar panels at Old Soul Farm. The more pots I make, the more I crave wood firings. My future plans are to build a wood kiln and only wood fire pots. In my spare time, I usually am reading about kiln construction. I truly am so fascinated by the ancient traditions of pottery and feel so blessed I get to study them every day!