Pottery & Traditions Live on at Particle Ceramics
Traditional crafts, such as pottery, quilting, and basket weaving, have a long heritage in Tennessee, and the same is true here in Franklin. There are incredible artists throughout Franklin who have made it their life’s work to continue creating by using the same methods as their ancestors. One local artist dedicated to continuing the tradition of pottery is Joanna Thatcher of Particle Ceramics.
From teaching classes to creating ceramics in her Franklin studio, Joanna’s passion for this unique art form and the process of making it is genuinely inspiring. Her work graces the tables of homes across Franklin and the Southeast and has been featured in collaborations with Kate Williams Design. Her love of art, human connections, and the camaraderie that comes from a shared love of creation and creativity drive her every day. That shared love of creation drove her to co-found the Elysian Collective, which highlights fellow artists. She’s also sharing her passion with residents and visitors alike teaching pottery classes at her Franklin studio.
We caught up with Joanna to learn more about what she loves most about this art form.
How did you get started creating pottery?
“I took my first ceramics class here at the Williamson County Rec Center way back in 2001! After that year, I traveled and didn’t get back into it until I began studies at a college in Georgia–that’s when I really got hooked. In fact, my declared major was nursing, but I ended up taking more semesters of art until I eventually switched my major to Studio Arts.”
What drew you to pottery?
“I’ve always loved working with my hands. I love the constant challenge of it. I love the various steps and processes. I love the glorious natural colors it can produce. I love that it’s an art form that utilizes both my 2-D and 3-D brain. I love it because it’s a good teacher, keeps you humble, and is soulful. Plus, being able to use something daily I’ve made is a perk.”
Why is it important to keep traditional crafts, like pottery, alive?
I think it’s important to keep traditional crafts alive because it’s grounding. Store-bought ceramics are undeniably cheaper but are often soulless. Crafts like ceramics, metal works, glass, and fabrics were born out of necessity and ingenuity. They force us to take time with our work and to think about the quality and aesthetic. In all that is fast and flashy around us, these art forms teach us to embrace the process with both growing skill and creativity patiently.
What was your inspiration for co-founding the Elysian Collective?
My dear friend Sarah DeShields and I were making art together as a way to challenge and find camaraderie and critique in each other. We eventually decided to expand the territory to join forces with other artists collaborating on pieces and group shows. In short, we were inspired to be inclusive in the art world and to use the Elysian Collective as a goal setter and motivator (which most all of us artists very much needed.)
Are you interested in finding more of Joanna’s work, or signing up for a class at Particle Ceramics? Learn more here!