One of a Kind: The Joy of the Commission Part One

It is pure joy when I walk into the studio in the early morning and feel it’s welcoming warmth against the crisp November chill outside. But even a greater joy is that today I will work on a very special piece. It’s a large piece, filled with challenges of creativity and skill, pushing me into unknown territory. Yes, pure joy!

This piece is part of a series called “Seagrapes”. Greatly influenced by the sea and it’s fauna. It is a one of a kind, no other like it, a commission. The technique I’m using is soft slab construction and each added element brings life and movement to the whole. I have completed constructing a commissioned piece of this series that is 6” tall 30” wide and it now waits to be glazed. It will be the centerpiece for a very large dining table for a special collector of mine. This morning I’m working on a 30” tall and 28” wide piece for the a foyer in a home in Little Cayman. It will be one of three that I will make for their space.

Many of the pieces we potters make are created not knowing  who will own them and where they will live, but a commissioned piece allows us to envision it in its home in our minds eye. What a joy and what a challenge.

In this video you will see me make a leaf, add, alter, and shape it bringing it to life.

Lori Theriault, one of my amazing studio mates, is also working on a commission. She is working with a client designing and creating a one of a kind piece to reside in a prominent place in their premier restaurant here in Asheville. Lori regularly makes signature service ware for restaurateurs who serve specialized dishes on her uniquely designed pieces. This piece however is decorative, specifically designed for installation.

Where I am in the studio as the sun rises, you can find Lori working in studio well into sunset, carving away slip to create a beautiful night sky reminiscent of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”.  Her piece will be 20” tall and have an elegant finial for a lid.

In this video you can see Lori carving the finial which will set off the vessel with a unique elegance.



Next month in our Newsletter I will share two more commissions being created by Julia Mann, titled “Phases of the Moon” and Judi Harwood making a large vessel for Horsehair firing.

Join us on Instagram to see the completed pieces.

Please contact us if you need a specific piece for that special purpose or place in your life. It is our joy!

Sarah Wells Rolland