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Studio Visit: Frances Palmer in Connecticut

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Studio Visit: Frances Palmer in Connecticut

Katharine Huber June 26, 2012

"Clay has as much to say about itself as I do," says Frances Palmer, a Connecticut potter whose studio is in a barn next to her 19th-century house.

Inspired by the early 20th century ceramics of the Bloomsbury Group's Omega Workshop in London, Ms. Palmer started creating pottery 25 years ago. Her shapes are sculptural, whimsical, elegant, and clearly handmade. The goal she sets for her work, which she sells at Frances Palmer Pottery, is to be both functional and artful. She enjoys the hand-thrown process; it takes from four days to two weeks to make each of her considered pieces.

Photography by Katharine Huber for Remodelista.

Above: Palmer working at her wheel.

Above: Palmer uses a wet sponge to moisten the clay and her fingers to shape a bud vase.

Above: Chunks of earthenware clay are measured and weighed for each piece.

Above: Palmer has three wheels, one for each of the different clays: white earthenware, terracotta, and porcelain. She throws trims and details the pottery on the wheel. For a similar white vase, consider the Trapezoid Vase; it's 6.5 inches high and is $250. For a small blue vase, consider the Celadon Tulip Vase; it's 6 inches high and $130.

Above: Ceramic pieces on the floor of Palmer's entry foyer are being wrapped to ship.

Above: Ceramic pieces on racks, after firing. For her white pieces, Palmer uses white earthenware clay from Pennsylvania, finished with a transparent glaze. Palmer's Heart Bowl (above, sitting atop the tiered cake plate) is $125.

Above: From farm to table; Palmer's platters are lovely additions to the table. Photograph by Frances Palmer.

Above: Usable art. For a similar piece, consider the Cake Plate Four Dots; it's $350. Photograph by Frances Palmer. (N.B.: To tour Ms. Palmer's garden, see A Garden Lovely Enough to Inspire Art.)

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