Lauren SmithButte, Montana

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When I was little, I would play in the creek beds behind our house in Rockwall, Texas, fishing for crawdads and making mud sculptures. I have always loved making, regardless of the material. Growing up, I knew I wanted to be an artist. I took a drawing and painting class during high school and community college; but it was not until I transferred to the University of North Texas in 2002 that I took my first ceramics class. I immediately fell in love with clay, the environment, and the process. I had only made a few hand-built sculptures before I declared myself a Ceramics major and in 2005, I graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts.
In 2011, I completed a Master of Fine Arts with an emphasis in Ceramics at UNT. I was a resident artist at Center Street Clay in Sandwich, Illinois one summer during my graduate studies, where I worked with Steven Hill who is a renowned artist known for his spraying techniques; which I adopted and incorporate in my glazing process.
During August of 2011, my husband and I moved to Riverside, California. I set up a studio in my garage where I continued to make work and show nationally. In May of 2012, I was invited to “Art of the Pot” in Austin, Texas for their 9th Annual Mother’s Day Studio Tour and Sale. I have taught classes at the American Museum of Ceramic Art, in Pomona, CA as well as, Ceramic Services in Ontario, CA.
As of August 2014, we relocated to Butte, Montana. My husband teaches at Montana Tech and I work in my studio basement and continue to sell online and show throughout galleries and festivals nationwide.

I love making functional pottery. I want to share my work and create daily rituals amongst my collectors and admirers. I am constantly fulfilled every day that I can turn a ball of clay into something that someone can treasure. As I work at my wheel, I imagine my pots being used whether at a fancy dinner party with cake stands and flower vases decorating the table; or perhaps a favorite mug being filled with hot, steaming coffee or warm tea.
I use porcelain clay that is malleable and soft; it responds to the lightest of touch and can be altered until dried, then fired to create a hard permanent object. My forms are wheel thrown, trimmed, and manipulated. I apply a scalloped ruffle around each piece which creates an area for glaze to pool, resulting in variation and breaking up surface. I use a glaze pallet consisting of blues, greens, oranges and browns that are bright enough to attract attention, yet subtle enough to harmonize with the food presented on them or the flowers contained in them. I use a small, surgical knife to draw lines which begin at the space between the scallops and go vertically up and down the piece. The glaze breaks around these lines usually resulting in a lovely separation breaking up the surface. I spray and layer three to four glazes on each piece and fire in a gas kiln to cone nine in an oxidation atmosphere.
My inspiration comes from nature, specifically flowers and the way their petals unfold. I always have a camera with me in case I see an interesting flower or beautiful bird. I look at antique pottery, glassware and other current potter’s work to inspire and energize my own work. I am so lucky to be able to wake up every morning and do what I love to do. I have always been a maker and I will always be one.
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