I recently did an artists series for New England Home Magazine's blog, where I featured artists doing their thing in Rhode Island and Maine. Such beautiful areas have inspired artists for centuries, and I wanted to take a look at what artists were creating today. Alison Evans and I went to high school together, so it is a real treat to feature her enormous talents here.
Photos courtesy of Alison Evans
The entrance to her light-filled gallery in Maine
Taking her cues from the sea, Yarmouth, Maine-based potter Alison Evans creates organic forms based on gifts the ocean bears. She makes her ceramics, richly glazed oyster, razor and clam shells in Maine, so the inspiring subject matter is never far off.
How did she know creating with clay was her calling? While sitting in a computer programming class at my alma mater, Miss Porter’s School, Evans had a realization: “I knew that I wanted to be a business woman and that I didn’t want to join corporate America.” So she took a pottery throwing class and happened to be a natural at throwing on the wheel.
She decided at that very moment that this was her chosen path. An education at the venerable Rhode Island School of Design followed, and a creative career was born.
By absorbing and learning as much as she could from working with New York artist and head of RISD’s ceramic’s department Katy Schimert, she felt ready to go out on her own. In 2003, she opened her first Alison Evans Ceramics studio in East Boothbay, Maine. Today, her work is a family affair, with her husband Chris Fritz’s involvement, handling managing the studio and sales.
Inside the gallery
Rich, layered raku glazes have become a hallmark on her sea-inspired shell shapes. By layering glazes in the surface decoration, the resulting patterns can be somewhat uniform with subtle variation. The unexpected color iterations take on a life of their own once they go into the kiln, which provides a wonderful element of surprise. Shimmering in the light of day after emerging from firing, each piece is truly unique. The underglaze and overglaze fuse with drips and patterns she creates in bone white, mint, tortoise and charcoal. Creating designs that make their way to molds, Alison makes textured shell surfaces that have ridges and pitting just like the wave-tossed originals.
Nesting shell dishes
The mint charcoal condiment dish
A mint charcoal stout teapot
One of my favorites, her bone white nesting bowl
Growing her business, Alison saw a steady stream of work come in. The combination of word of mouth, gallery shows, gift shows and boutiques carrying her work has helped her develop a dedicated following. By maintaining her vision and unique point of view creating sea-inspired collections, she is able to grow her product range while attracting collectors who adore all things tied to the sea and those who dream about being near it.
Baby Shea inside gallery