THE PO­ETIC POT­TER

A love of na­ture and fam­ily in­spires ev­ery piece of Laura Venosa’s art.

Country Sampler's Prairie Style - - Contents - WRIT­TEN BY El­yse Ma­jor. PHO­TOGRAPHED BY Rose Derkay.

Artist Laura Venosa’s work re­flects her love of na­ture, her faith­ful muse.

Artist Laura Venosa traces her ado­ra­tion of roses back to child­hood, when her Nanny Sarah would serve tea in flo­ral-pat­terned china. To­day as a pot­ter, Laura puts her own spin on what makes a beau­ti­ful ta­ble by cre­at­ing el­e­gant col­lec­tions of mugs, din­ner­ware and more that are not only fan­ci­ful but also sturdy. Each in­tri­cate item is made from a blend of porce­lain, stoneware and earthen­ware of­ten fin­ished in a sooth­ing pal­ette of white and muted shades. Pieces begin with sim­ple shapes but are el­e­vated to ex­tra­or­di­nary with whim­si­cal ad­di­tions like hand­sculpted “Olivia Roses” named for her daugh­ter.

Raised in New York City, Laura now makes her home on a Florida horse farm in the coun­try with her chil­dren, Dante and Olivia, where they also run an or­ganic chicken-egg busi­ness to­gether. Laura spends morn­ings cre­at­ing in her idyl­lic stu­dio with wide-open views of the horse pad­docks and trees. “Na­ture plays a big role in my life and my work,” she says. “I think the farm—draped with old oak trees—gives me a spe­cial en­ergy to cre­ate.”

When she’s not col­lect­ing eggs or at the pot­ter’s wheel, the in­dus­tri­ous Laura can be found sell­ing home goods at her shop, Ver­bena, which is nes­tled in the for­mer Opera House build­ing in his­toric down­town Ocala. Ev­ery­thing for sale is ei­ther hand­made or hand­picked by Laura her­self: “I like things that are beau­ti­ful and pur­pose­ful. I make what I would love to have in my own home.”

“MY MIND IS LIKE A LI­BRARY FILLED WITH de­signs… I JUST WISH MY hands COULD KEEP UP!”

Sweet and col­or­ful birds do in­deed flock to­gether. TOP RIGHT: Whether she’s rolling clay in the stu­dio

or mak­ing meat­balls in the kitchen, Laura en­joys work­ing with her hands. MID­DLE: Sig­na­ture pieces such as a stack of nested cups and an em­bossed pitcher and small bowl in vin­tage white serve up un­matched style; a sweet love­bird adds a play­ful el­e­ment. BOT­TOM: “I’m a child of the six­ties,” says Laura, who cites cre­ative par­ents as in­flu­encers and de­scribes her style as a mash-up of bo­hemian, ethe­real and ro­man­tic. Laura be­came smit­ten with pot­tery

dur­ing a trip to Positano, Italy, in the eight­ies.

Laura en­joys mak­ing sea­sonal items like th­ese bells, which are meant to hang in a gar­den. “I love gath­er­ing them all to­gether and hang­ing them on an old chippy door!” she says. OP­PO­SITE, TOP LEFT: A love of cooking with herbs in­spired this col­or­ful set of stamped ce­ramic gar­den mark­ers. TOP RIGHT: Laura de­scribes her hand­i­work as “sim­ple” but notes that each item has a “lit­tle sur­prise,” mak­ing them all quite unique and mean­ing­ful. MID­DLE: A best-sell­ing pat­terned spoon rests on a fa­vorite plate. BOT­TOM RIGHT: Dec­o­ra­tive pat­terns and sub­tle tints unify items into an in­spired set. BOT­TOM LEFT: Wood­land mo­tifs add beauty to mugs of var­i­ous sizes and shapes.

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