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Potter Looks to Spread Love of Art Form at New Studio

July 25, 2016 Arts and Entertainment, Business No Comments

By John Fitts

CANTON — Early on, Laura Brees’ nomadic spirit was infused with a love of pottery.

As a young girl of 9 or 10 she was in the Utah with her family when her dad found some clay, demonstrated the art of molding a simple “pinch pot,” later strengthened by some time in the fire pit.

There might not have been an epiphany right there in the desert but the seeds of a life passion were sown.

Today, Brees is looking to share that love of pottery with others and recently opened Stoneware Alchemy in the Historic 44 Marketplace in Canton.

“I love the idea of taking nothing –  just a ball of clay, dirt essentially – and forming it into something beautiful that you can use in your everyday life,” Brees said. “I love art of all kinds. I experiment with and play with all kinds of different things but I’m mostly drawn to pottery. I like the idea of a piece of art that has a story of its own – from the hands that created it –  to all the stories and memories infused in it by people using it every day. It’s just a transference of energy.”

Beyond that childhood trip to the desert, Brees took a class in high school but it was really in 2007, while taking a course at a Community College in Aspen, Colorado when the passion was re-ignited.

“I took a ceramics class and fell in love with it,” she said. “Basically at that point I decided that’s was what I wanted to do with my life.”

From there she continued to practice her skills, taking additional classes and assuming the role of apprenticeships.

Her own work focuses on “high-fire stoneware,” and Brees loves to use plant material ashes and burn natural materials, such as horse hair, into the surface of her creations.

Brees inherited some of those nomadic family genes and several years ago, she found herself in Connecticut. It was designed to be temporary stay but nearly 7 years ago, she discovered Collinsville. She loved the area– and especially the people she met.

“I would have left the state if I hadn’t found Collinsville,” Brees said. “It’s got that Colorado kind of vibe.”

In Connecticut, she continued honing her skills, studying with area artists and working for studios.

For a time, she also ran her own studio in Avon.

“It was a learning experience more than anything,” said Brees, who is 28. “Now that I’ve had the experience, I feel I can refine it a little better.”

Brees said she’s also learned not to put plans on hold for too long.

“My mom passed away six years ago and that was a huge catalyst in changing my world view and what I wanted to do with my life,” she said. “It really made me just kind of say I want to do what I want to do now because anything can happen.”

And teaching is one way to keep those fires burning. Ultimately she’d love to design a traveling studio. Teaching is a lot of fun, she added.

“I do love sharing it with other people and that moment when you’re teaching somebody and it clicks,” Brees said. “It’s amazing. I get to experience that joy all over again. “

At her Canton, studio Brees offers private one-on-one lessons and is planning to offer group parties for kids and adults, as well as several special events. She also plans to host workshops for pottery and other art forms.

“I’m kind of opening it up to different artistic workshops,” Brees said.

A small gallery in front of the space is there for displays from Brees and area artists.

There’s also no denying that Brees stays motivated by teaching and continuing to work with clay.

“I’m just drawn to it,” she said. “The more I’ve done it over the years, it’s been like therapy to me. In order to create, you have to push everything else out of your mind and just focus on that one thing. It’s a cliché but you really do get centered.”

For more details on specific lesson plans, prices and her wok, log on to http://breesceramics.wix.com/stonewarealchemy or Stoneware Alchemy on facebook or contact Brees via Stoneware.alchemy@gmail.com.



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