About the Artist
Hand building has always been my favorite. It is instant gratification. I love the leather-hard stage and I can see the glazed finished shape in my mind. On a typical day in the studio I will throw 20-25 lbs. of wet clay and make big bowls, pasta bowls and platters. Each piece is different in both shape and texture.
I have lots of old lace that I roll into damp clay. Growing up, my mother made lace pillows for the church bazaar. People were always giving her old lace to use. When she passed away, I inherited that lace and have given it a new life.
Based in Moore County, Irene Russell has been honing her pottery skills for the past fifty years. In her everyday life, she shoots from the hip and follows her own rules. Her pottery is no different, both polychromatic and nonlinear, the colors, both inside and out, blending freely.
Irene was born and raised in Virginia. She currently resides on a horse farm with her husband Mike just outside of Southern Pines, North Carolina. In addition to hand-building and throwing pots, she is the grandmother to four fabulous grandchildren, and she enjoys riding horses and is also an avid gardener.
I moved to Southern Pines from Raleigh to ride horses full time- both showing and fox hunting after graduating from college in 1969. I fell in love with pottery after my first visit to Seagrove and Jugtown Pottery. I signed up for pottery classes at Sandhills Community College in the early 1970s. My first teacher was Carlie Tart. Years later I completed the entire pottery program under Cliff Stuckey while I was also in nursing school at Sandhills. My love for pottery was cemented at SCC as I learned about shape and form, clay, glazing, and firing kilns.
Wanting to learn as much as I could, I began commuting to Montgomery Community College to take classes with Mike Ferree. It was there I met my now long-time friend Dan Triece. I have also taken classes at Arrowmont School of Arts and Craft.
Now, fifty years later, I have my own studio at home. Clay to me is just plain fun! I can throw mugs, bowls, pots but I do not do matchy-matchy wares. Every one of my pieces is unique.