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“Lighten up, have fun and follow your heart!”

Ceramic artist Lori Martin’s love affair with clay has been ongoing and steadfast since she was a little girl. Play-Doh to clay, plastic wheel to the real one, Lori has kept on shaping and creating:  Simple and complex forms, adorned with either bright and bold motifs or intricately rendered ones, all the time unified by Lori’s passion for color and design, form and pattern.


Lori initially pursued ceramics as a hobby, while devoting all her time and energy to her career as a graphic designer. Yet perhaps, these interests weren’t separate paths at all, rather waiting to be united in her creations. She credits her high school art teacher for molding the designer and ceramicist in her—“I had an amazing high school art teacher. He arranged field trips to places like Hennegan printing and P&G to show us real world careers. He definitely helped craft my graphic design aspirations. He was also my ceramics teacher so both paths kind of originated with him. Today, I enjoy hand-building and spend much of my time trying out new shapes and processes. My favorite part? Decorating the surface. I create mostly functional pottery, and attribute my lively, colorful creations in part to my years spent in graphic design”.


 Lori’s process as a ceramicist has evolved. Initially, she worked on the potter’s wheel and used studio glazes. Now, she mostly hand-builds her pieces, using commercial glazes to give herself greater color flexibility for her designs. Starting with a simple form, Lori patiently and carefully renders complex surface decorations that are bright, happy, and interesting. She says, “If the form is simple, my possibilities are unlimited. I like order and detail. Keeping things tight, tidy, and orderly is my natural inclination—a trend that was evident throughout my career as a graphic designer. In general, I tend to keep my forms simple as I enjoy adding very colorful, highly detailed decoration”.


Lately, her fiery foliage bowls, with a gradient, analogous color scheme, have caught the attention of many collectors and national publications.  The reason why can best be summed up by Lori herself--“Overall, I love the energy that occurs between the formal border and center composition of the looser, organic leaf shapes. It’s a kind of visual chaos that I think makes for an interesting visual effect. Another unexpected feature of this piece is the subtle, raised surface produced by the layering of the glazes. This texture, along with the smooth glossy surface entices you to run your fingers over the finished leaves. It has an appealing feel, and is a final sensory touch to the colorful symmetry of this design”.

(Ceramic Arts Network, December 12, 2017)


As for who influenced her, Lori says, “I took a class with Terri Kern about 10 years ago. After that, I was hooked. I remain a big fan of Terri's work. She amazes me with her imagery, narrative and craftsmanship. I also follow Kari Radasch, Shoko Teruyama, Kristen Kieffer, Lorna Meaden and a host of other amazing artists”.


Lori’s wonderful pieces can be found at Gallery 708, in downtown Cincinnati. Come and get one or two or more!


©Lori Martin, All rights reserved

Written by Priya Rama for Gallery 708

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