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Five questions for Doris Landrum

Doris Landrum, 53, is a potter who works in her York studio, Mosquito Hawk Pottery. The name originates from her roots in Louisiana, where dragonflies are called mosquito hawks. She was inspired by the “fluid movement” of static objects, such as waterfalls frozen in motion and moss-draped branches of live oaks. She is currently the president of the Carolina ClayMatters Pottery Guild.

Q. What do you like about pottery compared to other arts?

Pottery incorporates skills that are used in sculpting, painting, carving and weaving. The sound of pottery instruments can uplift the soul, and there is nothing more captivating than watching the performance art of a potter while throwing on a potter’s wheel.

Q. How did you get interested in pottery?

In 2005, I took six months of pottery classes at a community center and learned the basics. After that, I purchased a potter’s wheel and a secondhand kiln. Most of my potting skills were developed through dedicated work, attending demonstrations, reading Internet websites and shared knowledge gleaned from members of the Carolina ClayMatters Pottery Guild.

Q. How would you describe the types of pieces you make?

My pottery is functional art with a keen emphasis on fine details. I am not a production potter. A lot of time and consideration goes into each piece. The pots have to be beautiful, top and bottom, inside and out. When the glazes cool down, the swirls and drips are frozen in motion. Sculptural vases usually have features that create feelings of serenity while face jugs depict more energetic emotions.

Q. How has North Carolina’s pottery tradition influenced you?

A North Carolina tradition that I have adopted is the tradition of making face jugs. I like the folklore of face jugs. My face jugs honor the tradition while being more contemporary with a broader range of colors and more refined sculptural details.

Q. Could you tell you us about Carolina ClayMatters Pottery Guild?

Carolina ClayMatters Pottery Guild’s goal is to provide education to its members and to the public and to provide learning opportunities for clay artists. Twice a year, the guild sponsors the Carolina ClayMatters Pottery Festival where up to 50 potters sell their work. This is the perfect place for the public to learn about the pottery process.

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