Join us in welcoming local ceramicist Cora Freeman for First Friday's on Friday March 4th from 5PM - 8PM and Saturday March 5th for a pop up from 10AM - 5PM. Cora is a recent University of Mary Washington graduate, and works with recycled clay to create functional ceramics - we hope you can join us!
How long have you been in the ceramics space?
I started learning pottery while I was in high school while searching for a creative outlet. There were pottery wheels at my school, but no teachers who knew how to use them or instruct wheel courses. I enrolled myself at a nearby community center for courses and learned there. Ceramics was different than what everyone else was doing at the time (painting, drawing) and I really liked that. I grew up with creative parents and they encouraged me to do art - my Dad would show me how to draw things.
I began to take [ceramics] more seriously when I began college at the University of Mary Washington in 2017. Over time I have learned how to make my creation process more efficient. Understanding how to streamline my processes has allowed me to increase the production of my craft.
After graduating did you go full-time into building your ceramics business? What has been the most challenging aspect of building your business?
After graduating a worked for a year as a kindergarten associate teacher - I love kids, but realized it wasn't what I wanted to be doing for my entire career.
What is most challenging - it is often difficult to maintain creativity and keep organized with business opportunities. My boyfriend majored in business administration and he has been helpful guiding me through those sides of the business - building linesheets [for putting my products into small shops], et.
Where do you draw inspiration?
Likewise where does your work draw influence?
I draw inspiration from Roberto Lugo and admire his combination of poetry and pottery. His outlook on pottery and the act of teaching people to make physical objects allowed me to see the impact of art on people’s lives. I had the opportunity to take a workshop with him in DC at the DC Clay Center.
His motto of “this machine kills hate” displays the importance of making art equitable for all. Aesthetically I draw influence from artists like Henri Matisse and John Baldessari, I enjoy the boldness of both of their artworks and use this influence on the wax resist process of my pots.
What would a dream trip or solo artist retreat look like for you?
A dream trip for myself is exploring Nancy Holt’s earthworks. I grew up around Nancy Holt’s Dark Star Park and always found her work alluring.
[Nancy Holt was an American artist most known for her public sculpture, installation art, concrete poetry, and land art. More information on Nancy Holt's Earthworks can be found here]
Your favorite way to begin each morning? End each day?
My favorite way to begin each morning is with a coffee and cuddling my cat and dog. Ending my day usually involves chocolate (anything chocolate and raspberry!) and reality TV (currently Love is Blind, Season 2).
The most fulfilling part of the ceramics process for you?
Taking pride in all steps of the process knowing that once complete my pots will live in their forever homes while people will admire them when in use or on display. I look forward to knowing that when partaking in a craft process like ceramics your viewers will not only enjoy the aesthetics of your final product but it’s functionality as well.
A dream of yours for the year, professional or personal?
A professional dream for myself this year is to move into a larger studio that fits all of my needs including a nap spot for my dog, Rosie - she's a one year old pitt rescue from Puerto Rico. I actually will be converting a space in Northern Virginia previously used as a dark room for photography, and am planning to get my own kiln. My studio right now used to be a bathroom, so excited to have a bigger space and feel like a 'real artist' - and to not have to drive pots back and forth to the studio as a part of the process.