Dahlonega’s Dirty Little Secret
“Hi! I’m Amy Lovelady Strickland of Cleveland, GA and I love to play in the mud!!! Some people might even say that I make mud look good. All I know is that it took me 43 years to find clay, and have been working on our relationship ever since. When someone asks me how long it took to make a piece, that’s pretty much what I have to tell them. As this is my bio page, I guess I should start with the fact that I am self taught. My husband, Todd, and I owned an art gallery in Dahlonega, GA and one of our potters said she would feel better about me selling her work if I knew a bit more about it. While I have always loved to write, I joke that I’ve never even owned a whole box of crayons. I have never tapped into the visually creative side of myself, ever, until this invitation to go to her studio. I went once, and was hooked. I learned to center on the wheel, the very first night. Within a week, I had bought an entire studio from another artist, who now painted and made jewelry, leaving her studio vacant and unused.
So I set myself up, with my “new” kiln and equipment. I had a tiny little room with a large deck so most of my work was done outside. That was the first four years. We closed the gallery in 2010 due to the economic collapse of the world, and though I have to say that I grieved for an entire year, I also worked. I stayed quiet, with most of my communication going straight to the clay. It was soft, and agreeable, not like the rest of the world, and we got along. Well.
In 2012, Todd and I found a house just off the square in Dahlonega, and decided to make the move to the town we had fallen in love with, but where we no longer had a business. I had many shop keeper friends who were more than willing to show my work, and after a few trials at other places, I’ve settled into a great relationship with The Country Cottage on the North side of the Square, just a block from the house. My studio in this house is the best. I have my wheel next to the fireplace, a large hand made butcher block table for hand building and workshops, a glazing room, a trimming room, and even a safe room outside for my kiln. I have lots of space for raku firing, and a little red wagon to deliver my pots to the Cottage, which I enjoy as the people I pass want to see the wares being delivered. I have a really nice set up! I’m so very lucky that I have the most supportive husband, family and friends, and I’m happy to be able to share this experience, and my pieces, with you.
In September of 2014, we decided to make it a bit more formal here in the studio and open to locals. Lovelady Creations was introduced to the community of Dahlonega. I only want to be available to locals, friends and family. Tourists and the general public are welcome 7 days a week at Country Cottage. That’s how I became “Dahlonega’s Dirty Little Secret.” It’s just better for me. While 2014 is wrapping up and claiming several wonderful shows in Clarksville,GA, Madison, AL, Dahlonega, GA, Dawsonville, GA, the schedule is starting to fill up for 2015. I look forward to seeing what we will do and where we will go!
You see, for me, this relationship I have with clay is a balance between private and public. I work best in a quiet environment. Glazing days are hard for me, and I need alone time to finish a lot of the more detailed pieces. But I’m also a social person, and need that interaction with people. I have a lot of customers who love to come and see what I’m working on, and in our conversations, my work changes again. It has been a constant journey, since the day we met, and I hope you enjoy my work as much as I enjoy making it.” – Amy Lovelady Strickland
Specializing in both functional and Raku pottery, Amy finds that she is limited only by her own imagination and the imagination of others.
Functional wear is food, dishwasher and microwave safe, and you’re encouraged to use your new pottery every day. There are no special care instructions for the functional wear. It has been fired to temperatures above 2200 degrees Fahrenheit and can be used for cooking, baking and serving.
American raku pottery is based on an ancient Japanese firing method, where the pottery is removed from a special kiln at full temperature and placed in a reduction chamber where newspapers, leaves or sawdust catch on fire. A lid is placed on the chamber and the resulting deprivation of oxygen makes the special raku glazes change colors resulting in different colors and patterns with every piece.
Amy’s studio is at her home in Dahlonega, GA. Her work is available daily at The Country Cottage, Public Square North, in Dahlonega, as well as Monteluce Vineyards and Estates, also in Dahlonega.