Laura’s work is on view at the Presbytery offices through October. She is a member of the First & Franklin Presbyterian Church.
When did you first recognize your artistic gifts and how has your art evolved?
Creating art has been a part of my life since I was old enough to use crayons! I always enjoyed art classes at school and when I got to college, I took as many different courses as I could. It was in college that I discovered pottery. Working with clay gives me the opportunity to take my love of drawing and painting on to a three dimensional surface. While art is not my full-time job, it is a passion that I continue to develop.
What role, if any, does your faith play in the way you approach your creative life and your art?
I find that creating is always an act of faith. When I am fully engaged with clay, paint, or photography I am often able to reside in a space that is bigger than myself. This space is one of gratitude, beauty, and wonder.
You are a teacher. What role do you think art does/should play in education?
I believe that art is a critical—and often overlooked—component of an effective educational program. I teach fourth graders. Along with the required curriculum, I also teach my students how to create with the Zentangle® Method that I use on my pottery. Through this time each day, I find that my students are more engaged in their classwork and that they have not only expanded their way of creating in the world, but also have enhanced their strategies for self-monitoring, stress reduction, focus, and problem-solving.
Why did you accept the invitation to exhibit some of your work at the Presbytery?
I accepted this invitation to exhibit my artwork because I do find that my art and my spirituality are inextricably linked. I enjoy the opportunity to share my work with others across a variety of settings.
What would you hope would be a takeaway for those viewing your work for the first time?
My hope would be that people who see my work would find joy in the beauty of lines, shapes, and colors that make up the varied pieces. The paintings of tree bark highlight an aspect of nature that is rarely really seen. The patterns and shapes in the tangled pottery are formed from simple marks and come together to create a greater whole.
Creating art has always been an integral part of Laura Oldham’s life. Laura has taken numerous courses in ceramics and drawing throughout the years to develop and hone her skills and processes. Primarily trained and currently working as an elementary educator, she most recently acquired her certification in Arts Education. In 2012, Laura was introduced to the art form, Zentangle, and she has embraced the depth of meaning that the Zentangle method holds, not only for creating art, but for living a mindful and intentional life. She completed extensive training to become a Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT) in 2015. As a CZT she loves to not only teach the process to others in her classes, but enhance her pottery with tangles—beautiful images mindfully created by drawing structured patterns which are part of the Zentangle Method® by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. She is inspired by the many colors, shapes, and details found in nature which leads her to incorporate natural elements into her designs as well.
Turning True Studios is a space where movement brings art. Movement of the wheel, hands, clay. A found object is turned and re-viewed through the lens of art. Turning True Studios features handmade pottery as its central focus of art and includes a variety of functional art bowls, vases, cups, mugs, utensil holders, plates, vessels and more. She has been selected to exhibit her functional pottery in area juried art shows, including the American Craft Council’s Emerging Artist program. In addition to her pottery, Laura continues to embrace her love of the creative process through her poetry, photography, rock art, drawing, and oil painting. Oil painting is a more recent medium for her. These oil paintings, while seemingly abstract, are actually close up renderings of Blue Gum Eucalyptus tree bark. Over the past few years, Laura has spent time photographing these trees along the California coast. She is drawn to the lines and colors that create such beautiful compositions. As the bark peels away from the trunk, the compositions shift and evolve in a beautiful timelessness.
All of my pottery is handmade from start to finish. My pieces begin with a lump of raw clay which I transform into shape on my potter’s wheel. Then there is a drying period before I can trim the pieces into their final shape. Next, the pieces are fired (bisqued) for the first time in the kiln. Once cooled, I hand paint them with various Zentangle-inspired patterns in multiple colors of underglazes. I do not use stencils or any pre-designed methods – all of my detailed original drawings and patterns are created freehand. Before the final firing in the kiln, each piece is hand painted with glaze to enhance the colors and patterns on the pottery and give it a glossy smooth finish. All of my pottery is functional as well as food-safe, microwave-safe, and dishwasher-safe.
Visit Laura’s website at https://turningtruestudios.com/ to learn more.