From a quiet corn farm in Indiana to her current home on Lake Whatcom, clay artist and self-proclaimed potter Linda Stone has always been inspired by the natural world around her.
“When I first came to the northwest… I was just taken aback by the mountains, the oceans, and the huge wildflowers,” Stone says. “It looked like something out of ‘Alice and Wonderland’.”
These wildflowers, which Stone later identified as rhododendrons, became one of the first of many Washington flora to inspire her creations, including one of her three pottery lines: rhodiewear, beachwear, and fernware.
It’s this connection to the natural world that drew Stone to pottery in the first place, combining color and the buttery texture of matte glazes to create realistic interpretations that capture the beauty of nature, while also serving a function and promoting sustainability.
“My focus is creating a more attractive, sustainable environment. I want to promote handmade ware, as a part of that movement,” Stone says. “I wanted to help make the movement more attractive… We can reuse, recycle, in an attractive way that will bring us more joy.”
Although Stone is now an established potter and member of the local artist community — she is the owner of Silver Beach Pottery, a former co-owner of Good Earth Pottery, and a participant in the Whatcom Artist Studio Tour — she didn’t get there overnight. In fact, Stone put her craft on hold for more than a decade.
By the time she finished college, Stone already had two preschool-aged children. Deciding to focus on family, two kids soon became four, and three years off became 13. Then, at age 45, she had a sudden realization: She’d rather be a starving artist than continue to do something she wasn’t passionate about.
“I firmly believed as long as I didn’t give up, someday I’d be able to do this,” Stone says. “I constantly dreamed about what I was going to make…when the time was right, I’d say ‘I knew it.’”
Stone started out by taking lessons. Eventually she enrolled in an independent degree program that would teach her the chemistry of glazing.
For seven years, she participated in arts and craft shows throughout the state. At one of the shows in 1999, misfortune struck when a sudden downpour caused her canopy to collapse. At a financially uncertain time in her life, Stone was at a crossroads. That’s when the owners of Good Earth Pottery offered her the chance to purchase some shares of the store.
“It all seemed to happen at the same time. I didn’t want to keep doing shows forever, my goal was always to have my own gift shop and store,” Stone says.
Stone co-owned Good Earth Pottery for 10 years. While she loved being part of the store’s history and still sells her pieces there, she is no longer an owner and is now focusing her efforts on the Whatcom Artist Studio Tour.
Today, you can find Stone’s pottery on her website, as well as at the Schack Art Center, The Museum Store, and Good Earth Pottery.
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