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Shop Talk

October 6, 2012

Shop Talk: Elizabeth Nields Pottery Studio


How did you get started in this line of work?

I took an intensive course at a place called Brookfield Craft Center in Connecticut. And I just fell in love with making pots.

What have you learned from your work?

Working in clay nurtures you in a way. It centers you as well, just as you have to center the piece of clay on the wheel before you begin to work. It’s very satisfying work.

There’s a lot of work — throw, tool, kiln, glaze, another kiln. There’s always something that needs to be done, so it carries you along. The sculpture takes more passion. It is less comforting, more expressive. Again, there is something that pulls you along with it.

What is the most challenging part of what you do?

The challenges are of such different kinds. Making a really big sculpture that you love is a challenge, but there is also firing the kiln correctly. To market (my work) is one of the more difficult things for me.

The most enjoyable?

There are so many different sides to that. When you’re in the middle of a really big sculpture; the teaching and cooking for my students. Just being with people in the workshops. It is a kind of friendship that feels good to me.

How do you define success for your business?

It does mean a lot to me that I make a profit on (my work), but I think the more important success is making work that I like, and teaching. The people grow through the workshops _ the fellowship of people being together. And I love it when I make a really big sculpture.

What are some advantages as well as drawbacks of doing business in this area?

The advantages are that this is a really beautiful area in which to live. People love to come to work in the studio because it is in a beautiful location. There is a lot of freedom here to do things the way you like. Buildings are inexpensive. It’s not so hard to get people to help you with working on the buildings. I love that about here. Everybody in construction has a really good imagination.

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