Gail Lawson - Bio
After growing up with Wake County sand between my toes, this area holds a big place in my heart. Our area has changed a lot in the last 50 years, but somehow, since I have had my hands in clay, many of the memories of living on a farm, playing in the sand and building "frog houses" have come back to me.
Working with other “clay artists” has taken me back to the simple life that I had as a child. You can’t be covered in mud and dirt and hold yourself aloof from those around you. It kind of brings everyone to the same level and frees people to just be themselves. It’s a lot like a family reunion. Those are the people that have to take you in when nobody else wants you.
I am always very aware that God is the great potter and I am a clay vessel created by His hands. Kind of takes you back to fundamentals, doesn’t it? It also keeps me from taking myself too seriously. After all, I am just imitating the original creator. And it's just dirt, isn't it?
Dan Finch, in Bailey, NC, began introducing me to the intricacies of working with clay several years ago. He is constantly teaching me new things (thanks Dan). I have been a portrait artist most of my adult life but longed for something “a little more”. I called a few potters in Knightdale searching for a studio to teach me the techniques for sculpting, glazing and firing clay. A wonderful person (whose name I can’t remember) told me about Dan’s studio. The rest is history.
Love of the human face has driven me to sculpture. Painting is very satisfying, but I wanted to be able to close my eyes, run my hands over the clay and “see” the face of the one I was sculpting. I find that sculpting portraits is “enough”. As I learn more about armatures and such, I want to sculpt entire bodies of babies and children. They bring out the best in me. After all, I am Gavin, Alyssa. Judah and Jeremiah's “Nana”. (Ask me about my grandchildren!)
Besides working at Dan’s studio for several years, I have taken workshops with many wonderful clay artists and sculptors. Philippe Faraut conducted workshops at Dan Finch Pottery in April 2006 and 2007 and I was privileged to study with him. Philippe is one of the foremost sculptors in this country and the techniques he shares are priceless. I feel as if I should just mail him a check each month to show him how much he has helped me to improve. He is an amazing instructor - maybe the best I have ever had.
My formal education is in computer graphics and software. My work history reflects that training. After being laid off in 2009 (I was happy about that), losing my husband of 35 years in February 2010 (miss you John), my future is wide open.
I'm planning to begin workshops here at my home soon and hope to offer free workshops to children and adults with disabilities as well.
I find that it's not what happens to you that matters - it's what you do with what happens to you that matters. I believe God wants me to share the gifts He has given me and I will do that with great joy and enthusiasm and His help.
The current galleries that represent me are: Seagrove Gallery in Cameron Village - Raleigh, NC; and Seven Sisters Gallery in Black Mountain, NC. Please visit my web site at www.gaillawson.com to watch my progress.
Training and Workshops I have attended:
Rudy Autio and Ron Meyers - Dan Finch Pottery, Bailey, NC - 2003
Charles and Linda Riggs, Marcia Selsor, Steven Branfman - Dan Finch Pottery, Bailey, NC - 2004
Steven Hill - Dan Finch Pottery, Bailey, NC - 2005
Jim Fatata - Litmus Gallery, Raleigh, NC - figurative sculpture - 2005
Bruce Everly - John C. Campbell Folk School - portrait sculpture - 2005
Philippe Faraut - Dan Finch Pottery, Bailey, NC - 2006 - portrait sculpture
Philippe Faraut - Dan Finch Pottery, Bailey, NC - 2007 - portrait sculpture
Marcia Selsor - Architectural Ceramics - La Meridiana, Certaldo, Italy - 2007
Peter King - Architectural Ceramics - Dan Finch Pottery, Bailey, NC - 2008