Tuesday, July 28, 2009

ClayFire is going to be featuring one of our artists every week so everyone can get to know us muddies. This week’s inaugural ClayFire featured artist is Toby Fried of Friedfired Pottery. She can be found on ArtFire at www.artfire.com/users/friedfiredpottery Now, let’s get to know her a little bit better.

So we’re not so formal, what is your first name? My first name is Margaret, but I go by my middle name, Toby. I am named after my grandmother.

Where are you located? I live equally between Cincinnati and Lexington, Ky.

Share a little about yourself. I taught middle school for over 30 years and sporadically played in clay. After I retired I decided I was going to devote myself to pottery, and see if I could become good enough to satisfy my standards. I have spent the last year throwing . Some become lidded cookie jars, some lidded canisters, etc. I am pleased with what I have accomplished thus far, and still have a lot to learn. I just bought a gas kiln and am itching to learn how to high fire gas.

Describe the work found in your ArtFire studio. I do some hand built, but most of my work is thrown with some altering. I love to make lidded pots and find unusual things to use as knobs: roots, minerals, coral, etc. I do stoneware, raku, and woodfire at Maple Creek Artisan Center in Ohio.

Describe your method of creating. I will throw my basic shape (cylinder, bowl, etc.) and walk away from it. In college, this was my smoke break. I do not smoke anymore, but I still call it that. Then, after I have looked at the unfinished piece a while, I usually get an idea of where I want to go with it and finish it. I like to have a lot of pieces in various stages so I can move away from something for awhile and then come back fresh.

When did you start crafting/creating art? As a kid.
How long have you been selling your artwork online? A couple of years.

Where do you get your inspiration? I have a huge stack of pottery books and magazines that sit in every room. I also have found certain potters I really like, some local, some not. I have a lot of pottery in my personal collection. Sometimes one of these sources will give me an idea.

What makes your work unique from other ArtFire artists? My pottery is not incredibly unique. I do raku, glazed, horsehair, and naked. I do cone 6 stoneware, and I do high fire wood/soda. These can all be found at other studios. I feel my work can hold its own with other potters. I am particularly satisfied when I throw a piece of pottery and lid that work together to make an aesthetically pleasing shape.

What advice do you have for artists who might be thinking about throwing their hat into the online arts market? Stick with it, and don’t expect this to be your source of income.

Toby of FriedFired Pottery can also be found on Etsy and Facebook.

Thanks for the interview Toby. Your work is excellent and I hope you great success at ArtFire. Check back next week for yet another great clay artist feature.


  1. This is great! Thanks for sharing.

  2. I wish I had your focus! Your work reflects your desire to do a thing well! I just love naked and horsehair raku, have never tried it but hope to soon.

    Thanks for being so open and sharing with the community!