Ceramic Artist Laura McIndoo talks with Mary Ellen Beads Albuquerque about creativity.

Ceramic Artist Laura McIndoo Creates Everyday Beauty

Ceramic Artist Laura McIndoo, mixed media specialist Lynda Burch and me, bead artist Mary Ellen Merrigan, collaborate to present a studio tour stop during the 16th annual Sandia Heights Artists Studio Tour, September 14-15, 2019. I spoke with Laura about creativity and her work.

What does creativity mean to you?

Ceramic artist Laura McIndoo talks creativity with Mary Ellen Beads Albuquerque

Sometimes I feel that I am not as ‘creative’ as others, but rather ‘inspired.’ I spend a lot of time looking at art and patterns, from everything to Pinterest to books on ancient patterns found in Greek artifacts or Spanish tiles. I spend time soaking up these images, colors, shapes, and patterns, and then when I’m ready, I head into my studio and see what comes out. Usually, it’s a combination or variation of something that inspired me, but with my own twist or take on it. When I’m in my studio, time seems to stand still. I have a lot of other work to do for my jobs, so my time in the studio is a cherished and necessary time for me to focus on myself and my art, rather than my job. Making time to devote to my art means that I only do what inspires me. I usually don’t take commissions or put pressure on myself to produce a lot of work for other people. What I choose to make is what I really want to make. I think that leads to better work.

This pottery is by ceramic artist Laura McIndoo who talked with Mary Ellen Beads Albuquerque about creativity.

What kind of art focus did you have as a child? 

I grew up in a family of artists. I assumed it was normal to have an art studio in the house. I’ve dabbled in most art forms – drawing, painting, printmaking, calligraphy, batik, and finally ceramics. It took me until college to realize that clay could hold my attention longer than the other art forms, and I decided to take a pottery class. There were many times since then that I was unable to do pottery, due to a lack of access to a studio, but it has always been a part of my life. When I was living overseas and unable to work with clay, I was constantly visiting museums or historical places and noticing the ceramics. Once we built a studio for me in our home here in Albuquerque, I was finally able to devote time to my hobby. Since then I have learned a lot about the craft and have become more versatile in my styles and techniques.

This pottery is by ceramic artist Laura McIndoo who talked with Mary Ellen Beads Albuquerque about creativity.

How has social media marketing increased your visibility in the world?

I have a Facebook page and an Instagram for my studio – Redbud Pottery. I’m also a member of a few online forums and groups where we share our work, tips, techniques, etc. I’ve learned a lot from these groups, and it’s also affirming to post your work on social media and have something go viral. However, I don’t have a proper website. Sometimes I sell on Etsy, but I basically limit my social media to Facebook and Instagram. Since I am not a full time potter, I don’t have the time to commit to managing a website and my production. So, I’m about as visible as I want to be, for now.

This pottery is by ceramic artist Laura McIndoo who talked with Mary Ellen Beads Albuquerque about creativity.

What artists most impact you/your work/and your future ideas for your art?

Growing up in New England, it was Georgia O’Keeffe, actually! I loved her lines and zooming-in on tiny details in flowers. In college, I studied abroad in Granada, Spain. As a student, we had free access to the Alhambra, where I would go to do my homework. Instead of homework, I spent months drawing the intricate patterns of the Moorish tiles over and over again until I memorized them! After college, I lived in Poland for five years, where I was constantly studying the architecture, art, paintings on buildings, filigree ironwork, art nouveau stained glass – everything was inspiring to me. Recently I was inspired by a trip to Lanzarote by their resident artist, Cesar Manrique, whose sculpture and art remind me of Picasso. In the future, I would like to keep honing my pottery skills to be able to incorporate ideas from my travels into my art more.

This pottery is by ceramic artist Laura McIndoo who talked with Mary Ellen Beads Albuquerque about creativity.

Give me an example of a time when stretching to create birthed something unexpected in your life or your work.

For several years, I was a designer for Kiwi Industries, a local children’s clothing company. I was approached by Sesame Street and given a license to create a line for them. While the license was given to me based on my previous designs, I was suddenly in a place where I needed to create under pressure. I was expected to come up with something new, innovative, and up to their standards. I started playing around with images and colors, not knowing if I would be able to create something good enough. I modernized the characters’ faces, and paired them with the characters’ names in other countries, and called the line “Sesame Around the World.” It was a hit!

This pottery is by ceramic artist Laura McIndoo who talked with Mary Ellen Beads Albuquerque about creativity.

What do you want as your legacy in art?

One thing I love about pottery is that it’s functional, as well as beautiful. I would love for people to use handmade pottery everyday in their lives – whether it’s a new favorite coffee mug, a planter that sits on their desk that they look at everyday, or a fruit bowl in the center of their table. I feel that the things that we own should mean something to us. I want to be able to give people more everyday beauty in their homes and lives. 

Thanks, Laura! It was great to talk with you. Learn more about mixed media and collage artist Lynda Burch. I talk maker creativity here.

What inspires you as an artist?

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