Marisa Marcantonio: Ceramicist Alison Evans

April 3, 2012

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 clamshells in Maine, so the inspiring subject matter is never far off.

Photo courtesy of Alison Evans

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.

Alison Evans at work. Photo courtesy of Alison Evans.

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.

Front of gallery. Photo courtesy of Alison Evans

Inside the gallery. Photo courtesy of Alison Evans

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.

Photo courtesy of Alison Evans

Mint charcoal condiment dish. Photo courtesy of Alison Evans

Mint charcoal stout teapot. Photo courtesy of Alison Evans.

Bone white nesting bowl. Photo courtesy of Alison Evans.

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. Photo courtesy of Alison Evans.

–Marisa Marcantonio

Marisa Marcantonio has been involved in nearly every aspect of the interior design industry. She has worked in the style department of House & Garden and has been the style editor for House Beautiful as well as for Oprah’s O at Home magazine. Currently she is an independent consultant to private clients on interiors and design, and she consults with top companies, most recently contributing to the re-launch of Gilt Groupe’s online home section. Marcantonio is a go-to source who seeks out the next thing in interior design. In 2007, she launched her blog, Stylebeat, to share design trends in a more immediate and personal way.

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