Becky Laird | Episode 866
Becky Laird is a potter based in Kenmore, Washington. Becky thoughtfully creates work in her home studio with a focus on making functional ware that feels good to hold and use. The groundwork for Becky’s pottery making was established years ago in Chicago where she had her first studio and taught classes for CLAY, Lill Street Arts Center, and Little Black Pearl. After returning to Washington, Becky continued to study ceramics while pursuing her education degree at Western Washington University. Becky’s curiosity about color and detail is evident in her artisanship. Her work is decorated with organic hand-drawn designs that reflect the natural beauty of her surroundings.
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Do you ever feel like all you ever do is work?
(Laughter) So there are aspects of pottery that definitely feel like work. The things that are the more tedious busines end of things. But I also enjoy hard work, so there’s that aspect of it, and I feel very lucky that the school where I work is very supportive and community oriented for sure. So I work really hard but I also love what I am doing.
You already have a schedule for school. Do you have a schedule for your making time?
So every Wednesday for awhile I was the person at the studio on Wednesday nights who could answer questions and help people and I pulled back from doing that, although it still happens,. But I am there every Wednesday evening, so I know for sure one night a week I’m there. Then on the weekends I often go up and glaze and so it’s making a little bit (at a time.) I try to throw at least a couple of times a week so I don’t have to do a huge chunk of things at once, which took some time to learn. I have a lot of really supportive and encouraging folks in my life that often say, What do you need? How can I help?
You are in a glaze chemistry class and I’ve read that learning helps you stay energized. Has that learning process helped to energize you to keep moving and to keep making?
Yeah, absolutely. Especially I was so happy that I was able to do this class in the summer, number one, when I have some time and space for extra things. Like even just today I was looking at all the test tiles that I made so far and looking at how when you are taking out ingredience how that affects the results. I’m really excited about experimenting with the drawings that I do and being able to create glazes that still show the drawings really well but also the depth of glaze. So the answer to your question is absolutely yes, I am really excited about a lot of the things that I am learning.
Do you have to keep social media in check so you have time to be a maker instead of a looker?
I do, but I also love looking because I learn so much from other artists. I think the thing for me is doing the social media- making posts is the thing that’s hard for me. I was okay with posting photos every once in a while but it seems like there’s a shift happening that will be interesting to see how that impacts engagement really. I love it when people send me messages based on photos and I don’t know if those same things will be happening as Instagram shifts to being more video focused or only video focused.
When you are in the studio what’s playing in the background?
That’s a good question. It varies. I am very fortunate to have friends who are musicians who make recommendations to me a lot so sometimes it’s books and I’m kind of in that grunge era. I grew up in the 90’s in Seattle so depending on the mood, sometimes it’s Modest Mouse, I like a lot of music. I try to meet the mood with how much I have to get done. But I actually really enjoy silence, honestly. I will work in totally silence often because there’s a lot of stimuli at work. It’s nice to come home and look out my window and look at my plants and make pots.