Making pots started for me as a way to relax from the stresses of my work as a clinical social worker. Because the process required both my physical and mental energy, I was able to focus on learning to throw without the distraction of work. Eventually, around 2005 I traded psychotherapy for pottery and began taking classes, first at Claymakers studio and then enrolling full time as a curriculum student in the two year pottery and sculpture program at Central Carolina Community College. I began with a wheel in a small space in my basement, then was able to set up a kiln. I worked for about a year as an assistant to Lara O’Keefe with O’Keefe Pottery and as a part time employee for two years with Joyce Bryan at Stonecrow Pottery.
I started selling my work at small home sales, local Art Walks, the Chatham Mills Farmers Market and the North Carolina State Fair. Last year I joined the Chatham County Artists Guild Annual Studio Tour and took the plunge to expand my studio. My talented friend, Brad, came from Seattle and built my shelves, tables and other equipment. I now have a wonderful work space that looks out onto the woods and pond that we live on. I also began selling this year as a vendor at the Western Wake Farmers Market and enjoy thinking about and making market related and seasonal pottery.
My interest has been primarily in making functional ware and fits well with my love for food, gardening and cooking. I want the pots to work well, feel nice in the hand and look beautiful with the food on the table. I am inspired by the textures and patterns found in my daily life, like sand patterns on the beach, tree bark, fungi and moss, ferns uncurling in the spring and by the flora and fauna encountered on my walks with my dogs. All of which might get incorporated in some way into my pots as a texture, drawing, pattern or shape. I fire in an electric kiln, using some local stoneware clay. I occasionally have soda or wood fired pots for sale from firings with my generous pottery friends and their kilns. I mostly make pots thrown on the wheel with occasional handbuilt slab pots.
I got involved a few years ago with making bowls for some of the local Empty Bowls fundraising events and have been helping Cora, the Chatham County Food Pantry, organize their Empty Bowls event for the past three years. It’s been rewarding to see that the money we raise, from local potters donating their bowls and local chefs donating vats of soup, goes directly to feeding families in need in Chatham County.
For more information about Trish Welsh, please visit her web site: http://www.fiddleheadpottery.com/home.html