My first experience with clay occurred while attending Radford University in Radford, Virginia from 1960 to 1962. During a class in sculpture, I found that I really enjoyed working with my hands to form the class project -- a bust. Twenty years passed during which I was a wife, mother, homemaker, secretary, bookkeeper and real estate agent. I was living in Charleston, South Carolina, when memories of that long-ago experience prompted me to take a pottery class at the Gibbs School of Art. Once again, I found a real joy in working with clay -- this time on the potters’ wheel.
Shortly afterward, a career change for my husband brought the family to Marietta, Georgia, near Atlanta. I knew even before leaving South Carolina that I wanted to pursue a career in pottery. I continued taking lessons in the Marietta area. I also worked as a pottery studio assistant and that experience gave me valuable insights into the requirements for setting up my own studio.
In 1986, I entered the market as a functional potter, working in high-fired stoneware. A short while later, I was offered the opportunity to teach at a newly established art center, sponsored by Cobb County, called “The Steeple House.” I began my educational career by teaching creative clay projects to kids, ages 6 through 12. I also taught wheel and hand building techniques to teens and adults. In 1990, Cobb County recognized the need for a larger art center and opened “The Art Place,” where I continued to teach. At the same time, I also taught similar classes at the Marietta – Cobb Museum of Art. Throughout this period, I marketed my personal work through galleries and art festivals. Recently, I have reduced my teaching activity to concentrate on workshops. I have also recently focused my production activity to concentrate on art festivals.
Early, the products and techniques of the Japanese Raku firing process fascinated me. I took a three-week course with Rick Berman at the Penland School of Arts and Crafts in 1987. By 1990-91, I was confident of my ability with the new process. I used this confidence to shift the central emphasis of my work to the visual and decorative items that result from the Raku process.
One of the highlights of my career occurred in 1998 when the crew of the “Lynette Jennings Design” television shows visited my studio to film my Raku creation process. This series of television shows showcased artists and craftsmen from around the country and was broadcast nationwide on the Discovery Channel. The show segment that featured my work has been rerun repeatedly after its initial presentation.
I have won many awards, I have participated in juried exhibits, and I have been accepted in major regional and national shows. I always have enjoyed contact with the public and I enjoy the comments that are prompted by my work. I especially like the idea that strangers may enjoy my art enough to decorate their homes or to present my pieces as gifts. I look forward to many more years of forming shapeless lumps of clay into fresh expressions of my imagination.