Darby Huffman and Francie Loveall 
- Laughin’ Gnome Pottery 

Since I was around 4 years old, and just a wee gnome navigating the gardens of life (just kidding, I am a human man… but certainly still navigating the gardens of life), pottery has been a love of mine. Though we lost touch with each other and had what can only be described as an on-off relationship, I began my throwing career when I attended a small school in Grass Valley, CA. After a year of learning to throw and building and firing several kilns, I attended a pottery and kiln building workshop. We built a 6-chamber climbing kiln; each chamber was 6’ x 6’ x 6’ with a 40’ foot chimney at the top of the hill. We mined the clay and glaze materials and made our own bricks to build the kiln. At the end of the 30-day workshop, we spent three days firing our new friend.  

As I've grown older, I’ve realized this interaction of clay and humans brought me into a closer harmony with Mother Earth and how we are inherently woven to clay throughout our lives. I believe our souls are tied to clay, which is why I do what I do today with passion, a loving attention to detail and joy. Our naked clay evokes this relationship and inspires both us and our clients to interact with the Earth at a primal level, bringing us all more in tune with what the world around us has to offer.  

The rich red clay we use is from the Ohio River Valley where it is mined from extensive clay fields left in the wake of retreating glaciers 12,000 years ago. So, it’s a bit more of a higher quality than what you likely used in your grade 3 art class, and definitely no PlayDough. Ancient cultures used this clay to make cooking pots, storage jars, water jugs and figurines. Iron oxide gives the clay its uniform red color and provides a fine texture suitable for both thrown and sculpted pieces. 

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