Lynne Meade: Pushing Boundaries

I started playing with clay as a child. By the time I was 8 or 9 years old I was actually selling little animals that I made at a local consignment store. I don't know what possessed me, but I took a shoe box full of little creatures into the shop in our neighborhood and asked if they would sell them for me. The woman was very kind and I charged 25 cents each for them. Within a couple of weeks I had an order for 25 of them to be used as party favors at a child's birthday party. Needless to say, I was pretty happy.

After that, a ceramics class in high school and a job working for a local potter led me to a course of study at Wesleyan University. My father was not amused when I told him that I was going to major in ceramics. He thought it was a joke.But, once I got started I never considered any other career. After school I apprenticed with a few different potters in Cambridge Ma. and  finally opened my own studio in 1987.

meade-process41

I moved to California in 2007.  Once I moved here I started a body of work based on carving porcelain.  I had a certain amount of success with this work. I found it very peaceful and meditative but after 17 years, I felt that it was starting to get stale. Also, a company wanted to license  several of my carved designs, so 2 years ago it just seemed like the perfect time to embark on a new adventure.

 
meade-vessel
 
 
 It was a huge leap of faith leaving the work that had come to define me as an artist. But it was well worth it. I had no idea what I wanted to do next.  While making the transition from craft fair artist to more of a design business, teaching has been a great support. I teach six classes per week at three different facilities. I love having steady paychecks and meeting so many wonderful people. It also helped to answer the question of "what now?"
 
 
 I had been looking at a lantern in a friends' garden for some time and started thinking about it. I asked my advanced classes if they would be interested in doing a lantern project. Fortunately they were willing and over the course of the next semester we played with the idea.
 
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Over time, the process helped me to develop my current work. While I love the lanterns, it has expanded into a more complete body of work based on piercing porcelain. It explores the play of light and shadow, transparency and, inner space and sense of volume. It pushes the boundaries of function vs. art.  It is just a really fun technical challenge. I want to see how far I can push the material. How little clay can I leave? How delicate can I make it look?
 
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It is a gift that after more than 40 years of working in clay I have found a new way to challenge myself and develop new skills. In the best cases I guess that is why we all do this work, to keep evolving and challenging ourselves to go further than we thought we could.
 
See more of Lynne's work online:
Instagram: @lynne_meade

Comment(1)

  1. James Aarons
    James Aarons says

    Great story. You are transforming just like one of your amazing vessels. Thanks for sharing your journey.
    The recollection of early your childhood entrepreneurial spirit reminds me of a young lad at my first ACC-SF show. His father made carved porcelain vessels (ha!) and he was running around selling “Lucky Dice” – little mutant gobs of clay, vaguely 6 sided, with pin pricks to delineate the value. I think they were a buck each. I bought a handful and gave them out. Instantly they were a hit and the kid probably sold more single items that weekend than any of us serious adults. Oh for the ability to be a wild young creative mind again…

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