Laura Laylin Nichols
I have been making pots for 40 years. I am self-taught, leaving me to wonder on occasion whether I have a genius or an idiot for a teacher. I have learned that being a potter requires optimism and the subtle art of persuasion. My formal education is Anthropological Linguistics (PhD, The American University 1988.) I work in my home studio, Pig Pen Pottery, on my family farm, Hidden Springs Farm, in Great Falls, Va. I make functional terra cotta and stoneware pieces, stoneware lamps, fountains and masks. The stoneware is fired in a reduction gas kiln.
My goal is to make a pot that is pleasing to the eye, to the hands and to the purpose for which it is intended. The measure of success for me is hearing that someone uses my mug exclusively for hot chocolate, for instance, or my bowl especially for ice cream. We are so accustomed to having all matching plates, bowls and cups that we risk becoming insensitive to our tableware. I also make decorative Raku vessels. Making pottery is an exercise in letting go. Rarely does a pot come out as expected. The best you can do is combine shape, texture and color according to your muse, and then give it over to the fire. Firing Raku is the essence of this truth. What the fire gives you is what you get!
I teach classes in my studio.For more information please visit my website, PigPenPottery.com.