I first saw artist Whitney Smith's pottery in my sister's home. At the time, my sister lived just down the street from Whitney's studio, and had stumbled upon her work at an open studio sale, where she'd purchased a delicate, carved vase. And just last week I fell in love with Whitney's work again when I saw her pottery at the Design Within Reach/Craft magazine event in Berkeley.
Whitney first started throwing clay on a wheel in 1994, and while she pursued other academic interests, she still continued to throw pottery as much as possible. After relocating to the Bay Area she worked as a floral designer in San Francisco while developing her pottery style after work hours. In 2000, she was able to finally realize her dream of working full-time as a potter.
Of her inspiration, she writes,
My design sense is primarily informed by my obsession with flowers and other forms found in nature. I have painted and drawn since I was a small child, and many of my designs are influenced by other painters and 2-D artists. I am also strongly influenced by Art Nouveau and the Arts and Crafts movement of the 19th early 20th Century. I like the look and feel of old things and antiques, and my glaze choices have a certain look that reminds people of a different era.
To see a gallery of Whitney's stunning pottery, just
Whitney crafts nearly all of her pieces by first throwing them on the potter's wheel and then carving and texturing them by hand. She also paints on her glazes with brushes, which is a timely process that lends a distinctive quality to her pieces. If you're interested in purchasing one of these lovely pieces, you can find her work at her Etsy shop as well as in stores across the country.