My first efforts at clay making were disastrous. The instructor walked away, shaking his head, saying, “That shouldn’t have happened…” Inside the kiln, it looked like a nuclear holocaust. Despite all the clay drama that even today can challenge my equilibrium, I continue my exploration. I am an observant “scientist” who recognizes that bringing clay to life is a continual unfolding experiment; clay reacts and responds to whatever is done to it. The heat of the kiln transforms painted glazes, the results always holding surprises. There is the continual possibility of new discoveries—new shapes and forms and an ever expanding vocabulary of symbols and shapes that have become a visual language for me. The solidity of the ceramic material, its intrinsic stability and permanence also makes it an appealing medium to work in.
I make no distinction between my artwork and my life. All intertwined; life and work are one. My personal narrative is frequently part of the clay, with themes of protection, vulnerability and metamorphosis depicted in the folk tale style of storytelling. My deep interest and love of the natural world is also portrayed in the presence of botanical, animal and insect aspects.
Since 1987, I have consistently made my living as a craftsperson, exhibiting widely in Michigan and nationally as well. My work and studio was featured on HGTV. Large scale public commissions offer personal challenge as well as the opportunity to offer site specific work that conveys a specific story or theme. Projects include an installation called, “Rainbow Man” for the Kresge Eye Institute in Detroit in collaboration with Art & Soul (a group from First United Methodist Church in Detroit that offers art experiences to the homeless). Other public commissions include three recent installations of ceramic art for the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit (two large mosaics and a group of nine large pictorial tile in an alcove.). The Imaginariun Garden for children at the Southfield Public Library contains thirty-two 12” pictorial tiles illustrating the four seasons. A favorite collaboration was with fifth graders at Stadium Drive Elementary in Lake Orion (MI). We created a large mosaic that expresses the exuberance and energy of that Performing Arts school. I also frequently create tile for homeowner’s kitchens and bathrooms, as well as commemorative special occasion platters and mosaics.
I live in a pink house in Royal Oak, Michigan with my photographer husband, Richard Doyle. I can be found daily working in my mosaic-covered studio in my backyard garden. I welcome you to visit (just call first) or come to my annual studio show held in December.
Husband photographer Richard Doyle Created Laurie's paper doll – tile dress. The above larger than life portrait was created by Richards successor, son Sam Doyle.