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April/May 2017 Issue

Ceramicist Laura Cooke crafts porcelain pieces in her studio at ClaySpace, a cooperative of ceramic artists in the River Arts District.

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Aug. 15, 2016

Two Asheville artists are sharing their collection of ceramic dinnerware at the Art & Light Gallery in Greenville, South Carolina. Eva Magill-Oliver and Laura Cooke began working together in the last year, and this is the first time their collaborative works have been seen by the public. “Their work is very fresh in style,” said Teresa Roche, owner of the Art & Light Gallery, where the show opened Saturday. “It’s very contemporary and right on trend with what’s going on in housewares in the market today.”

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Mountain Xpress

Local businesses drive Asheville vibe

Feb 11, 2016

Laura Cooke, who sells her ceramics out of the Phil Mechanic Studios in the River Arts District, says the strong support from her fellow artists has helped her business flourish. “Potters are always helping each other out — giving advice, firing kilns together, lending materials,” she reports. “They’re the closest thing I have to co-workers.” The thriving arts community, adds Cooke, also “speaks to Asheville’s commitment to handcrafted and local.”


Mountain xpress

July 16, 2015

Coffee with Character

Coffee with character In 2010 while living in Portland, Ore., ceramicist Laura Cooke began a series of animal-branded drinkware after being inpired by a whale drawing done by her friend, Jon Wagner. “ I was charmed by the animals’s ho-hum expression, and with Jon’s permission, created the first animal mug,” Cooke says. “It was a huge hit, and we decided to formalize our collaboration and create a whole line of animal-decorated pottery.” Cooke also makes a body of animal-free pottery. But, “the whale has always been a best-seller,” says Cooke. “We’ve found that more obscure animals, like the armadillo and the ostrich, have not attracted as many fans.” Location is an influencing factor: “The buffalo is popular in Wyoming, for example, the fox is a hit in Atlanta, Cooke says. ”And the squirrel is a top seller in North Carolina.”



March 1, 2015

Gathering of creatives

Dish up Foodies are fans of Laura Cooke’s functional pottery. But she has many others. The company: Laura Cooke Ceramics was founded in 2009 in Portland. In 2013, Cooke moved back home to North Carolina, opening a studio in Asheville’s River Arts District. The found: Cooke grew up in Greensboro, N.C. and graduated from Furman University in 2006 with a degree in studio art. She learned to throw pottery in Cortona, Italy. In 2008, she moved to Portland to studio ceramics at Oregon College of Art and Craft. She apprenticed with renowned pottery Victoria Christen before establishing her own pottery business. The goods: Cups with animal illustrations, bowls, and dinner plates adorned with simple black lines, and mugs decorated with intricate, hand-drawn patterns. Other favorites: Trays with handmade tiles, small spice bowls, and an sugar and creamer set. Materials: Wheel-thrown porcelain with custom, hand-mixed glazed fired in an electric kiln to cone 6.