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Laura White Pottery

From The Blog Finding your calm during the coronavirus: Q&A with local potter Laura White

Local potter Laura White talks art, self-care, getting cozy at home, and the value of a friendly wave in this Q&A...

Q: You’re a potter and a parent of two – now that those two worlds are colliding more than ever with the quarantine, how do you make it work?

A: What has been successful for my business is slow, local growth while I raise my kids. So when classes were cancelled and shops closed, I was affected but said okay, it's time to get cozy at home now. For the moment my husband is working and I have clay to make pottery when he is home.

Not having daycare or family support has been an adjustment but by lowering my expectations I am finding fun things to do with the kids and that inspires me to be creative in my studio. It takes a lot of patience, flexibility, and snacks but we are getting by with a one day at a time attitude.

Laura White child painting
Laura White Pottery
Laura White Pottery Ethan making art
Laura White Pottery
Laura White Pottery fairy finding
Laura White Pottery
Laura White Pottery Berry Bowl
Laura White Pottery
Berry season, here we come!

Q: In your experience, what’s the most relaxing piece of pottery to make?

A: Hmmm. If I have a lot on my mind I like to make pots I'm familiar with to help ease back into the moment.

If I am already feeling calm there is nothing more satisfying than throwing a large pitcher. Slowing down my wheel and shaping the belly, maybe even flopping a few as I stretch the shape further and further is very relaxing.

Q: What are some of the forms you’re working on now?

A: When the pandemic was first coming to light, I was reading a lot of news and was pretty overwhelmed.

I used that time to catch up on tableware. These are shapes I know by muscle memory but also require a lot of tight measurements so I can easily focus on them.

Now that I have relaxed more into isolation, I notice a shift in making. I am making planters that are going to be altered into different shapes, berry bowls, compost bins and vases. Notice the strong spring theme?!

Laura White and her kids enjoying spring outside
Laura enjoying early spring with the little ones
Laura White and her kids enjoying spring outside

Q: Other than making pots, what activities mellow you out?

A: We spend a lot of time outside playing. When the kids are outside, they have room to be independent and that gives me time to do projects like clearing vines and raking leftover leaves.

These jobs are simple, but they make me feel calm and in control. I like to stop and listen to the birds and wind chimes and scavenge for tiny precious things with my kids.

I am also reading more. I try to set a book up next to my phone. Then when I feel the urge to check media for the millionth time, I try to pick up the book instead. Reading just a few pages can be a nice mental escape.

Q: On your Instagram account, you talk a lot about community. What are some of the most heartening things you’ve seen come from neighbors and local businesses?

A: I am so in love with this community and feel so lucky to live here especially during a pandemic.

When schools closed, the Yankee Bookshop donated three huge boxes of books and puzzles to the Haven's After-School Program. My family hasn't had to step into a store for three weeks thanks to local businesses offering curbside pick-up. There is a group who hid fairies around town for kids to find that has spurred a fairy obsession in our home. Artistree, The Family Place, local yoga instructors, and playgroups are all doing videos and zoom meetings to stay connected.

Fairy house in spring
Laura White Pottery
Fairy houses can be found in Woodstock if you look closely enough...

It's amazing and I am surprised by how many small and big acts I want to highlight (The Veggie Van Go food program, the EDC and emergency responders...) Perhaps the most heartening act has been hellos from neighbors and passing cars. I worry that the isolation will close us off from each other, so when someone waves and smiles it lets me know we are going to be okay.

Q: It’s a tense time. How do you practice self-care?

A: Music has always been important to me. I have started wearing headphones at night and am constantly in awe of what humans can do with sound. Then it's simple things like remembering to eat before I get cranky, drinking water, getting outside and reminding myself to sit still.

Q: What do you think is the best way for community members to support small businesses like yours?

A:  Think about what you need and challenge yourself to shop local. Amazon is really easy, but I guarantee you can still find what you need in town and the quality is better. A lot of shops are offering online or video shopping, shipping and curbside pick-up. For businesses that have had to temporarily close, see if you can buy a gift card to help them now.

I will be focusing on production for the foreseeable future. I look forward to when I can see everyone and show you what I've been up to all spring.


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