Shari Langer

Being out in nature is like the ultimate art museum, in my eyes. A perfect balance of an asymmetrical world. I’ve never felt that I was a great artist, but have always enjoyed dabbling. Art classes were always my favorite. In high school I loved my first taste of pottery and I still have a couple of larger, hand built pieces that I made. Since that time, pottery has always been in the back of my mind, but life just ticked by and I never really had much opportunity. I went to college, studied Geology and then switched to Interior Design. I got married to my wonderful husband, (it’s been over 30 years now) and had 2 boys, now grown. While raising our kids I worked, sometimes for other companies and sometimes self employed. My own businesses included a residential cleaning business and a land surveying company. I volunteered for about 22 of the past 30 years, serving on the board for my kid’s school PTA. When they got to high school, both my husband and I volunteered 8 years for the Band Boosters. I served on that board for several of those years. I also worked and volunteered for many years at our church. Life was alway busy and moving fast.

Growing up, my parents gave me and my siblings the wonderful gift of appreciation for the natural world. We lived in the suburbs of the St. Louis area, but spent almost every weekend in the country, on property that my Dad’s parents bought in the early 1950’s. We explored the outdoors, learning to appreciate what the earth provides for us. Our friends in the country taught us so many wonderful things about farm life, like collecting eggs from the chicken house, canning produce from a garden, walking amongst the cows, bailing hay, picking persimmons, collecting and making maple syrup, eating morel mushrooms and so much more. I was truly blessed to be able to grow up in both worlds.

My husband was raised with a similar appreciation for nature. We, in turn, tried to do the same with our kids. We live on 3 acres, at the edge of the suburbs. We have always had a garden, done some canning and spent as much time as possible in the country, time split between my husband’s parents’ place near Stockton Lake, as well as time at the same property my grandparents bought, so many years ago. We never lack for a place to escape too, from the bustle of our hectic daily life.

For the last 10 years, I’ve been wanting to find a place to give pottery a try, once again, but not a formal college type class. I wanted something a bit more casual. I had mentioned my interest to a few friends and some expressed an interest, as well. Then, on my husband and my 30th anniversary, we spent the evening strolling along the streets and shops of a local historic town and we stopped in an art gallery. Of course, I spotted and admired the pottery that was on display. Before we left the shop, I inquired if they were aware of any places that offered pottery workshops. He handed me a flyer of the upcoming events and there it was! Perfect! I was so excited! I immediately notified my friends and we signed up!

These 3 friends and I had gone to high school together, some of us had stayed in touch and some hadn’t seen each other in 30 years. For three weeks we met once a week at the workshop, reconnecting, laughing, creating and just having a great time. Our instructor was wonderful! We did several types of hand built pieces and the final class was to meet at the instructors home studio, to do the Raku firing. That was when I really got hooked! The dramatic transformation of our drab, glazed pieces to the beautiful, final result was amazing! I needed to do more!

Bitten by the pottery bug, one of my friends and I were truly hooked! We made arrangements to continue working in our instructors home studio, for several months to come. We didn’t only make pottery, we made new friends and great memories. Unfortunately, our new friend was moving, so the time using her studio was limited. There was no getting this pottery obsession out of our blood, so the two of us bought a couple of used kilns, (thanks to another friend). We had no idea how to use them, but fortunately my husband is always up for a challenge, so with many evenings of YouTube, lots of research and several test runs, we learned how to use the Kilns and successfully fire our pottery. I couldn’t stop now!

I decided to expand my creating experience and try the pottery wheel. Now my husband has caught the bug! We watched video after video all winter long. Finally, we bought an inexpensive wheel of our own. I don’t recommend buying a cheap one, but I had to find out if I could be even a little successful before spending much more money. It took months of practice, but little by little I improved. I was obsessed! Realizing that I was getting better, but still having as many flops and successes, I knew I needed a better wheel. We saved enough money to purchase a good wheel. What a difference that made! Finally, I was improving by leaps and bounds. With much of this year being plagued by the Covid-19 virus and many social activities being scaled back, I had plenty of time at home to practice.

My studio is just a space in my small basement. I have a large window, which helps to keep my need for the outdoors in view and my inspiration flowing. My dreams and goals for a business in pottery are expanding all the time, so you may want to keep in touch to see what transpires over the next year.

I hope you enjoy looking through my gallery of creations. If you see something you like, maybe you would like to make a purchase, but if not, I hope, at least you were inspired by my story, to never stop learning or exploring new or old interests. At the very least, take a new look at the world around you, it is amazing!