Meet Potter Stephanie Young of Calmwater Designs

Stephanie Young throws pots. She also lives the rare working artist’s dream. Everything that she creates gets sold. Everything. Her inventory at Calmwater Designs studio is in constant motion, from the wheel to the kiln to the hands of a buyer. Meanwhile, great movements of the art world filter through her own personal vision to appear as bright glazes and organic impressions in porcelain. She’s baffled by her own success but where other egos might get wobbly, Young remains centered, just working the clay, spinning out art for herself that is quickly claimed by her insatiable collectors.

Photo by David Mendelsohn

  • I work in porcelain, an amazing material, and the most fancy schmanciest of clays. The texture is divine for throwing, smooth to carve, and the glazes glow with the white surface beneath.
  • I pull inspiration from the brief — but magical — Art Nouveau movement of 1890 to 1910. Sending a little love further down the timeline, the Craftsman and Deco styles are influencers as well.
  • Dynamic work was coming from creators in the turn of the last century — Tiffany, Daum, Klimt. Like them, I am exploring the mathematics of moving lines and patterns drawn from good hard looks at nature.
  • Each piece is hand-thrown by myself, carved on a whim of an idea, and glazed under the duress of a looming show. They are all original and one-offs.
  • Patrons can rest assured that I definitely lack the attention span and mental fortitude to recreate the unique piece you may have purchased.
  • I work every day and always work alone if we don’t count Patrick Swayze. He is my paramour.
  • I choose subjects for my work that I find intriguing emotionally and mathematically. I love science, I love history. I love creating a harmony of geometry and motif.
  • Let’s call them pots. They’re vase shapes, but you could use them for drinking beer or collecting pennies too. Pots.
  • My work has introduced me to extraordinary people all over the world. Incredible that this amazing human experience has happened on account of me playing in the mud. It’s like meeting family you didn’t know you had.
  • Some pieces don’t make it out of the shop, a direct result of the creative shenanigans and/or clumsiness of the maker. I don’t lament the loss of work — part of the process.
  • The most interesting pieces are still safely in my brain.
  • I think we have a hunger for beauty. A hunger for genuine things made by a fellow human. We artists provide that. I do that. Patrick Swayze and I.

One way to be sure to get your hands on one of Stephanie Young’s porcelain pots is to visit her booth at the Mount Sunapee Resort in Newbury this month when it hosts the 86th League of NH Craftsmen’s Fair from August 3 to 11, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $13 to $15 and children enter free.

You can also visit Young’s website at calmwaterdesigns.com.

Categories: Local Artisans, Q&A

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