“I always wanted to be an artist,” Brown said.
She has achieved that goal, filling her home and life with her artwork, including some early sketches from her high school days. Walk through the front door of Brown’s home, and it is immediately apparent that pottery is her first love.
Her favorite pieces pepper her home, plates hanging on walls, pots on shelves and planters holding summertime garden staples. Brown even keeps pieces she feels are imperfect.
“The glaze on this one didn’t turn out right,” she said pointing to a brown and beige mug containing pottery tools. “But I have found a use for it.”
Brown, a Berry College graduate, first began her foray into pottery while attending college. She says she chose a school that would allow her to seek both a career and nurture her as an artist.
“I wanted the creative outlet, but I chose to major in marketing because I knew I could have a career. I could have stability to support myself,” she said.
During her sophomore year at Berry, Brown signed up to take a hand-building class under the recommendation of her adviser. That is when her love for pottery began to grow.
“The more I did it, the more I liked it,” she said.
Mastering the art of throwing clay on the pottery wheel didn’t come easy at first for Brown. She said it took a lot of practice, patience and clay to perfect her skills.
“It definitely takes awhile to master it. There are lots of disasters. One of the lessons they teach you is not to get attached to your work,” she said.
During her last semester of college, Brown took a job Redmond Regional Medical Center as its director of marketing. She balanced 18 hours of courses, 20 hours of work and countless hours on the wheel each week.
“It was exhausting,” she said.
After graduating Brown didn’t let her pottery practice slip; for two years after graduation Brown continued to work in the pottery studio at Berry where she worked with art students in exchange for having a place to continue her work with clay. Later she purchased a kiln and a pottery wheel to continue her work.
Brown began selling her work through festivals and through her website – www.potterybylisa.com — and her blog where she writes about the pottery process and shares photos of some of her favorite pieces and ongoing projects.
“I don’t post new things every day. It’s a really good place to put photos, and I like to write,” she said.
Brown also shares her love and talent with other people interested in learning the artform, teaching classes at Earthworks on East Second Avenue.
“Everybody’s attitude is really great, and their reactions are great. They are excited, and they don’t know what to expect. Everyone really wants to be there,” she said. “It’s important to have something outside of work to focus on. This has also been a great way to meet friends and local artists.”
Brown is creating usable, durable art and in the process has helped students view their creations as art as well.
“People don’t think of pottery as art. They think of a painting or a photograph, but I like pottery because it is useful,” she said.
During the summer months Brown throws on her pottery wheel on her front porch, and in the winter she places the wheel in her basement. She creates everything from vases, to bowls to cups and plates. Right now she is working on four place settings to use in her own everyday dining.
“I like to do functional things that can be used in everyday life,” she said.
Recently, Berry College commissioned Brown to create bowls as gifts for their Board of Trustees. Later a bowl was given to Sen. Saxby Chambliss when he spoke at a Berry graduation.
“He sent me a hand-written thank you note,” Brown said. “I thought it was very nice of him.”
Brown has the note framed and keeps it on a shelf in her living room.
“I definitely want to continue teaching,” she said. “I always said I wanted to do this full time. I know that if I moved somewhere across the country, I could do this to support myself.”