Laura got her start in pottery while in University in the mid-90s, at the clay studio of the Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador in St John’s. After earning a BA in Anthropology and Folklore from Memorial University, she enrolled in a visual arts program at The College of the North Atlantic, and later returned to St John’s to work as studio coordinator and instructor at the Craft Council.

In the summer of 2001 Laura attended a residency at Medalta in Medicine Hat, Alberta. Following this, she moved to the Ottawa/Gatineau area, and since 2001 has held teaching jobs at community pottery studios in the area, as well as taking part in several local sales and exhibitions. She has worked out of her home studio since then, while raising three children in Aylmer Quebec.

Much of Laura’s inspiration comes from her home province of Newfoundland. Growing up there instilled in her a love of nature, rugged landscapes, ocean, and fresh ocean air. While living in Quebec may have distanced her from the ocean, her current home has the Ottawa River in sight. With regular walks in the woods along the river, she looks for the same calm found while looking out over the Atlantic. It is this feeling that she strives to convey in her tableware, which is intended for everyday use. She uses simple design such as circles and dots in repetition to evoke a meditative quality.

The houses were initially explored as a response to her brother’s struggles while living with Muscular Dystrophy. These pieces are intended to be quiet, contemplative forms, to hold memories, and feelings of peace and security, much as a house or home should. They have evolved as forms to hold onto small objects that carry special significance…a beach stone or shell, a piece of jewellery, a note from a loved one… and in their current form, each one has a “secret” shelf, pocket, container…to hold these objects.

The buttons, yarn bowls and sheep-ware evolved from her love of knitting, spinning, weaving, and all things fibre.

sheppard-portrait  Laura Sheppard, Gatineau QC