She Sells Seashells
Ceramic artist Alison Evans crafts her organic, mollusk-inspired pieces in an airy studio within her Boothbay Harbor shop.
Photographs by Cody Barry
I usually get to work around 7:30, so I can have a few hours to myself before my employees and customers come in. When I’m in production mode, I love having help in the studio, but when it comes to making new work, I prefer to be alone. I haven’t stepped very far away from our core series. I tend to add pieces to the line in little bursts. I stew on new shapes and then quickly bang them out. I need to do the problem-solving in my head and find the time and energy to make the plaster molds. The prototype comes from the first cast of the mold. My favorite piece to make is our Oyster Coffee Table Bowl — I love how sculptural yet functional it is. I will never tire of or stop making this piece. Each one is different because of the way I carve the lip or how the glaze drips and the crystals grow. Making anything out of clay is masochistic though. There is so much loss. Pieces crack, kilns break down and misfire, clay batches and glazes get screwed up. You have to be very resilient to do this work.
Evans works stoneware clay she will roll and press into a giant plaster mold for an oyster- shell-shaped bowl. Her finished products include crystalline glazed nesting bowls shaped like oyster shells, an oyster platter, and a vase and delicate teapot inspired by snail shells.