PUBLISHED: 4:45 PM on Wednesday, May 3, 2006
Juneau artist introduces her functional pottery

  Courtesy photos Joyce Payne's pottery will be on display throughout May at the Juneau Artists Gallery.
Joyce Payne, newest member of Juneau Artists Gallery at 175 S. Franklin St., will introduce her pottery to the community at First Friday, May 5. She will show a variety of functional ware, which includes mugs, plates and bowls as well as large crocks and even hummingbird feeders.

She feels that "pottery is not just ornamental but meant to be used." But she is not opposed to one displaying her large crock for example as an ornamental sculpture if people enjoy it that way. Joyce works in white stoneware, porcelain and earthy red stoneware. She mixes her own glazes, which are fired in an electric kiln to cone 5 (about 2135 degrees). She blends oxides with a base to get different colors. Lately she has noticed that one new mixture of semi-mat black copper oxide producing a soft green seems popular. Perhaps it reminds locals of Alaska jade.

The chemistry science involved in the glazing process blends well with her art and science background. She was born into a creative family of artists, painting herself at an early age. She didn't discover clay until studying at the University of Texas at El Paso. There she belonged to a co-op studio and produced pottery for "fairs, shows and commission work." Over the next decade she produced freelance graphics including product designs, brochures and advertising. Eventually she returned to school for her master's degree in plant/insect interactions and their biological control.

This brought her to Alaska, where she worked as a biologist for a consulting firm for eight years. When her project ended in 2003, she chose to stay in Juneau rather than returning to Anchorage. She finally was able to turn her attention full time to her first love of clay. She built a studio in her home and began to show locally in mall fairs and public market.

She is currently developing a line of porcelain pots "that will meld my love of clay and the plant and animal world of Alaska into one expression." She explained she is developing a digital photo decal, which will attach to the pots in the firing process. The Alaska landscape photo that she will capture will look "zoomed in", or be a "subset" of the landscape. She hopes these "landscape plates and bowls will interest the tourists, but will also be interesting to Alaskans."