vera shanleyAs a child, I liked working with my hands…….sewing, knitting, cooking, science experiments…all kinds of creative things and projects.  Later, society taught me to value other things and I aimed my energies toward a career which required many years of focused attention, leaving little time for other pursuits…….sound familiar?

In mid-life, I realized that I had lost a part of myself and I wanted it back.  My husband, Jim, and I moved back to North Carolina from Atlanta, bought a farm and set out on an expanded kind of life.  One of those additions was to build a pottery and a gallery.  I had always admired and coveted pots I saw, especially those from North Carolina.  The pottery styles here were richer, earthier and more appealing to me than what I experienced in Atlanta where I first began to do pottery.

From 2001-2005, I traveled throughout the world as a volunteer physician providing anesthesia for children in developing countries such as Burma, Vietnam, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Nepal, and Tibet who had mostly birth defects or injuries.  In those magical places I was able to appreciate so many different people & cultures, different value systems, an abundance of varied artistic styles, philosophies, historical traditions along with new shapes and creative uses that I have unconsciously and consciously amalgamated and fused into my own pottery style.

While my pots are varied and influenced from a variety of sources, they do seem to have one common characteristic: they fulfill a purpose functionally, aesthetically and possibly emotionally. When I throw, I imagine where and how each piece will “live” and how it will fit into the life of another person. I wants my pieces to be used and enjoyed freely and I want each piece to add in some special way to the lives of those who purchase them as they have to mine in their creation.

I have attended extended workshops at Penland School of Crafts, Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts, and the Odyssey Center for the Ceramic Arts. She has studied under Ah Leon, Judith Duff, Brad Tucker, Cynthia Bringle,  Kristin Kieffer, Malcolm Davis, Sylvie Granatelli and Ellen Shankin.

When I am not throwing pottery, I travel,  sew, cook, farm, knit,  and most importantly, am  Mom to our  beloved Shelties Beau & Pippa (Beau & I work together as a therapy dog team). I cherish most my joyous and abundant life with Jim—my soulmate, husband and lifelong companion.

Contact Information
Mobile phone 919-360-6803
Directions to studio:

Artist Statement

In most of our lives, I believe we search for ways to connect…….to each other, to our inner selves in our search for purpose and for joy, and to the world we live in. I hope that pieces I have created with care and which serve you in your daily life will add a richness to your life and increase your sense of connection with those who share your bowls and share your lives. In a fast and disposable world, sometimes the nourishment derived from a bowl or a cup made by hand far exceeds the physical contents of the vessel.

The pieces I make are meant to be handled, to be used. Hopefully, they feel both simple and comfortable and aesthetically pleasing….sometimes even fun!  The habits, customs and beliefs of other cultures have influenced the vessels I make along with our own rich pottery traditions from America and especially North Carolina. Most of the styles I love have been thrown by potters for centuries. To see their similarities and their differences is always fascinating. To incorporate them into your own work is always challenging, but infinitely rewarding.

In the end, I do what I guess all potters do: I look at each pot as it emerges from the kiln and immediately start planning on how and where to tweak it, to improve it. And each time, I am sure that the NEXT pot will be the best one I can make. I do this every day, and still I love it.