Supporting Our Community – Part 2

Supporting Our Community – Part 2
Uncle Otis
The past few years have invited a lot of change for the most of us. Some have taken the form of a change in careers, some a change in living environments, and at times both and more. Laura Marie, the artist behind B-Side Projects, has embodied that change through her pottery.
As part of our features into local businesses, we took some time to talk to Laura about her experience working on b-side projects as well as what she has planned next. Inspired by her exposure to architectural work, Laura found herself thrust into the world of pottery in 2019 and has since developed her own line of ceramics that speaks distinctly to her own experiences in the world of architecture and travel. We met up with her recently in her studio discuss all things pottery, design, and more.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your business?

I was born in BC and have been living in Toronto for the last 12 years. I share a tiny apartment with my pet rabbit, Nori. During the day, I work at an architecture firm in the marketing department and then hop over to my studio in the evenings and on weekends.The goal with pottery has always been to stay true to what I want to make in form and palette and to hopefully have the practice sustain itself. I feel really lucky to have found this.

Pottery has been around for centuries. How did you find your path to this art form?

I started making pottery two years ago and it has been a complete whirlwind since! After seeing the work of a potter in Seattle in 2019 (I wish I remembered who this was!) I knew that pottery was something I needed to do. I began taking a three hour lesson once a week for seven months at a studio that no longer exists. I was slow at learning but knew that I could get better if I could practice more. I bought my first wheel and started renting a 55 sf space in a shared artist space. Two months ago I moved into a slightly larger private studio where I will be able to install a kiln and have more shelf space!

Each of your designs is distinct yet follows similar motifs at times. Are you particularly drawn to any design techniques or archetypes in your pottery?

Shaping the form is my favourite part! I love making soft curves and allowing things to come out naturally. Sometimes I have an idea in my head but get on the wheel and something completely different will develop. It’s very intuitive and free. However, I do find a lot of inspiration in architecture. For example, my Futuro Vessel was inspired by the Futuro House by Matti Suuronen in 1968. I spend a fair amount of time in the Sonoran Desert and am very drawn to that aesthetic as well, which can be seen in my Southwest collection where I mix two clay bodies and leave the exterior unglazed to get more of a natural sandy feel.

Have you worked with other local artisans and artists in regard to your work? Do you have anyone you would like to work with?

Not directly in terms of design but I do partner with Drachm Apothecary on a regular basis. We pair her beautiful dried floral arrangements with my bud vases. They look so good together!

I haven’t had much time to think of specific collaborations but I would love to explore that. Producing custom work for interior designers and florists would be ideal.

Do you have a vision for what your pottery will be like in the future? Any specific goals you’re working towards?

I don’t have a vision for what I want it to be like in terms of form or style because I think that will happen naturally, and for me that is very exciting, but I do have a lot of goals for things I want to make and colours I want to develop. Currently, my palette is very neutral and that’s because I am not a fan of most commercial glazes or glazing in general. I love the natural feel and aesthetic of clay but I do want to start incorporating colour. I have some ideas but I will need to test a lot more to achieve what I am envisioning!

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Uncle Otis