I've discovered that I really love working with independent artisan style businesses. I first got a taste of this style of photography working with the St. George Barbershop a few months back, so I've been working on developing this style. My friend, Amanda, co-owned the Desert Light Pottery Studio located on the St. George Boulevard here in St. George, UT; so I approached her and asked if I could get some practice.
Desert Light serves the St. George area as a resource to supply local artists and is equipped to allow artists to work on their pieces on the wheels in the back. They have the work of local artists and supplies for sale in the store front as well as an area to allow customers to paint pre-made pieces and teach various levels of pottery classes in the back.
I shot this set over the course of a few weeks so I got to spend quite a bit of time with each of the artists that used the studio as their workspace. Kevin got started with pottery in college, now he splits his income between it and cabinetry. "Since I am in business for myself I can decide where to spend more time on any given week. I really love both and thrive off of the variety both of my jobs give me." He loves throwing big pieces and often finds inspiration from seeing what other artists do. Each piece requires attention to the proportions and special care when moving and firing. During my time shooting this set, Kevin was finishing two of his pieces, one of which was almost as tall as I am with its top piece! They are truly impressive!
Laurel got connected with Desert Light after taking a pottery class Amanda teaches while vacationing in St. George from Canada. Clearly, she fell in love with the place and spent much of her extended stays in St George there. Unfortunately, she had to go back to Canada before I could chat with her very much.
Amanda and I actually work together at Starbucks, which where I first found out that she was one of the co-owners of Desert Light. She moved to Southern Utah to work at a wilderness therapy program and at the time was going to a different studio that Kevin owned to get her pottery fix, that's where she met Joyce, the other owner. When Kevin's studio closed its doors, they all wanted a new place to play. Amanda had a background in pottery and Joyce had a background in business, so they opened Desert Light. From the beginning, they knew they wanted to be committed to the local art community, so they asked around to find out what the needs were to connect with and provide for them.
The idea of inspiration has been so fascinating to me recently. For Amanda, inspiration comes from a variety of places. I was fortunate to be able to be shooting a portion of this set when Amanda was working on a bowl for Mother's Day. "When I'm making a piece for someone, I let that person be the inspiration for it. I think about who they are and what they like, I get to look back and experience my memories of that person." She carved the bird into the base of this bowl by hand, how crazy is that?
Desert Light Pottery Studio is going through a bit of a management change as Amanda and her husband relocate to pursue graduate school, they have assured me it will continue to be the resource that it has been. So if you are in St. George, stop in and check out some of the local artists work, maybe bring some back for the hearth, paint some pieces yourself, and maybe even take a class; who knows, you may fall in love with pottery!
Desert Light Pottery Studio
215 W St. George Blvd.
St. George, UT 84770