Marie Brown
The Potter's Keep
Grasston, Minnesota





Artist Statement

I've been making functional work for over 20 years and still with each kiln load I refine my forms and surfaces further, trying to make pottery that feels so right when you pick it up that you don't want to put it down. Paying special attention to handles, lips, and feet, so each piece feels like it is inviting touch and connection while also being passionate about quality and sustainability. A retired potter friend of mine is currently letting me use her soda kiln, which is tricky because I once-fire everything; which means glazing greenware and transporting it 8 miles to the kiln because our solar setup can't handle an electric kiln big enough to be useful. I have been met with many challenges throughout my career as a potter and I continue to work through them, making work I hope you will enjoy and connect with. . 

Studio DescriptionWe built our current home ourselves on 23 acres in 2016 in east central Minnesota, at the same time we built my studio. We are entirely off grid, powered by solar and heated by wood.  We source most of our wood through a partnership with a friend, and are able to use primarily deadfall and construction waste (my husband is a carpenter) to heat our house and studio. I'm currently finishing up building a wood kiln which fits into our sustainability goal, as well as my aesthetic vision and desire for community.   I’m looking forward to hosting workshops and firing with fellow potters.

What type of clay do you use?
I'm using Laguna's Woodfire B-mix.

What temperature do you fire to?
I fire to Cone 10–11.

What is your primary forming method?
My work is primarily wheel thrown.

What is your favorite surface treatment?
I use a leather working tool to emulate stitching or quilting. The constraints of the tool narrow my options for line work and free me from over-complicating my designs, while giving me freedom to explore new imagery without changing the overall aesthetic.

Do you make any of your own tools?
Some, but not all, most anything can be a tool.

What one word would you use to describe your work?

What is your favorite thing about your studio?
It's my own space to create, having plenty of windows is a first for me in a studio and much of my inspiration comes from looking outside.

What is the one thing in your studio you can’t live without?
My wheel and feline studio companions.

What are your top three studio wishes?
I wish I could bisque, I wish the wood kiln was ready to be fired, and I wish we had the time and money to finish a small gallery/retail space.

What’s on your current reading list?
Time for reading? I also have a 6-year-old daughter and too many sheep, audiobooks are my brain food, and I’m eating up a new one every few days.

How do you save money on materials and supplies?
I make my own glazes and recycle all my clay.

How do you recharge creatively?
Spending time with other potters is something I've been missing with Covid, but I enjoy time with my family, cats, sheep and (possibly too many) house plants.

Do you have any DIY tips for studio efficiency?
Nope, but feel free to send me some.

What challenges have you given yourself to overcome?
Learning to once-fire has been challenging and continues to throw new things at me occasionally. I’m also continually testing for new and better glazes.

What did your first piece look like?
The first I can remember was small bowl with a cat scratched on it and pink Pepto-looking glaze from when I was in middle school.

What ceramic superpower would you have and why?
The ability to control time, so I would always have enough studio time and could rewind time just before something broke or failed.

What area of skill do you most look to other artists to learn?
Business management, time management, and marketing

Who is your ceramic art mentor and why?
I wish I had one. I went to UW-Stout for my BFA, but worked in an office for 5 years after and never found an opportunity for a mentor, though there are many who inspire me. 

What is on your studio playlist?
Audio Books, lots and lots of audio books with a sprinkle of podcasts.

Why do you create art?
I work to create beauty I can share, mugs and bowls are my favorite because they create an intimate connection in an everyday way. If I can do what I love and pass along that joy then I’ve achieved my goal.  

Who is your favorite artist and what do you admire about that artist?
Linda Christianson is the kindest person I’ve ever met. Her relationship with clay is a reflection of that kindness making her work inviting in a way I aspire to.

What is your best studio tip?
Label everything and keep the dust to a minimum.

If you could change one property of clay, what would it be?

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