Showing December 1 - 31, 2016

Let There Be Light Turn up the twinkle of the holiday season with a spectrum of spirited clay originals

Scope Gallery is a guiding light for original gifts from local-area Ceramic Guild artists in the high-wattage "Let There be Light" show.


Dreidels aren't the only things made out of clay. Bright ideas translate to dazzling smiles as artisans amp up handmade with candleholders, ornaments and occasion dishware and keepsakes. A holy glow radiates a merry flare with sculptural creations, menorahs and warm, glowing lamps.


Artists shed light on the wish list with one-of-a-kinds anyone would love.The creative stars of the show range from handmade tree-toppers to original bells to incised trivets and crimson trays.


See sculptural santas and snowmen and pine for ornaments of whimsical cupcakes, witty wildlife to the sparking stars beyond. Say hello to haloes as displays spotlight a host of angels on candleholders, snuffers, ornaments and carved high-relief hangings.


Workshops are a whirl as potters provide one-of-a kind bowls for jelly, trays for the cheese ball, plates for cookies, milk mugs and platters for sugarplums. Decide on which pitcher for mom's kitchen or select a serving or salad bowl for the buffet. Make dad's morning with a new man mug and find a spectacular stocking stuffer for a lil' sweet pea.


However you decide to bring a bit of joy to the world, bring it with a powerful surge of artistic sparkle!

Under the Scope


Running her family’s ancestral farm in northern Virginia, Laura is surrounded by farm animals and wild life.  With a PhD in Anthropological Linguistics, Laura is interested in the relationship between symbols and culture.  Her pottery is certainly full of symbols of her farm life.


Paintings of roosters, sheep, heron, owls or frogs are frequent guests on her pots.  Her portfolio includes fountains and lamps as well as mugs, cups, bowls and platters.   To achieve the softer more fluid effect of her images, she uses a unique technique of painting with an underglaze over the glaze instead of under it.


Laura makes and fires all of her pottery at her studio, “Pig Pen Pottery, “ located on the farm. In addition to two electric kilns, Laura also has a gas kiln.  Most studio potters fire in electric kilns, but gas kilns give some unique effects.  If you have a gas kiln, a lot of potters will want to be your friend, particularly if you have all of Laura’s firing expertise!!!


In addition to rounding up the goats and sheep, feeding the animals, gathering fresh chicken eggs and figuring out how to put a fat sheep on a diet  (she put a dog muzzle on it a few hours a day—and it worked), Laura still finds time to teach pottery classes.  She enjoys the students and finds their questions and interests pushing her to new ideas and techniques.


Laura also founded an art organization, Great Falls Studios, 13 years ago and managed it for 11 years.  In addition to her over 10 years participation in Scope, she exhibits at the Norfolk Artisans Guild in Norfolk, CT and at Sheffield Pottery in MA as well as at Roots 657 in Leesburg, VA.


For more of Laura’s work, see


All kilns consist of chambers with a heat source capable of generating enough heat to bring the clay and glaze to maturity.   The amount of heat needed depends on the type of clay and also the glaze.


Electric kilns

In electric kilns, the pottery is heated to a certain temperature using oxygen.  The oxygen causes particles in the clay and glaze to oxidize.  This is what gives the clay and glaze their color and texture.  Because electric kilns use oxygen, firings in these kilns are referred to as “oxidation firings.”


Gas kilns

Gas kilns are a type of “reduction” kiln that is fueled by gas.  Other reduction kilns generally are fueled by wood.  Unlike firings in electric kilns, fuel is introduced in a reduction firing to reduce the amount of oxygen in the kiln.  Fuel needs oxygen to burn.  When there is not enough oxygen, the fuel produces hydrogen and carbon monoxide gases that grab any oxygen they can find in the clay or glaze.  When these reducing gases take oxygen out of the clay and glaze, they impact the clay surface and glaze color in ways that are different than those obtained in an oxidation firing.  Iron and copper oxides are particularly affected by reduction.  With oxygen, glazes high in iron oxides are generally reddish brown. In a reduced atmosphere these glazes will be green to blue-green.  Conversely, glazes high in copper will be green in oxidation and red to purple in reduction.  It is not a simple process. There are many variables, such as atmospheric pressure, wind and placement of the piece in the kiln. There are always surprises.


Laura's Gas Kiln

Scope Gallery

Torpedo Factory Art Center

105 N. Union St.

Ground Floor, Studio 19

Alexandria, Va 22314.

Phone: 703-548-6288


10 a.m. - 6 p.m. daily

Thursday: 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.


Check the Torpedo Factory website for early closings for private events at

Scope Gallery is a cooperative gallery shared by two of the oldest ceramic organizations in the Washington, D.C. area. The Kiln Club and the Ceramic Guild alternate months in this shared space. See calendar page for 2016 gallery schedule.