Lloyd Hamovit: The Village Potter

Lloyd Hamovit: The Village Potter

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Lloyd Hamovit in his studio holding teapotFor 30 years, Lloyd Hamovit has been working with ceramics, but it wasn’t the artistic media he thought he’d end up dedicating his life to. He grew up in DC drawing and painting, and as a teenager worked for various artists in their studios, “doing odd jobs and stuff just to be around them. The painters of the Washington Color School, like Bill Christianberry, showed me what it was to live a creative life,” Lloyd says. “It was the seventies.”

After earning a BA in fine arts and history from Kenyon College, he worked as a graphic artist for four years designing publications “before computer graphics!” he reminds us. Lloyd then received a Masters in Teaching from the Rhode Island School of Design, after which he was immediately offered his first art class. “One catch, instead of studio art I would be taking over the ceramics classes,” he says. “I learned more from the students probably than they learned from me my first year.”

blue, burgundy and teal porcelain jars with stick handles

Porcelain jars with traditional celadon and copper glazes/stick handles – carved, unglazed stoneware

Teaching became interwoven with creation, as Lloyd began to make his own line of pottery, shifting his personal work from abstract painting to functional ceramics. He continued to learn and to pass along his knowledge, gaining a Masters in Education from Harvard and teaching others how to teach art. At some point, he realized that the academic life wasn’t going to satisfy him. He heard “the call of the potter’s studio and wanted to know what an artist’s life is like untethered to an educational institution.”

“I wanted to know how to make a living as a full time artist, and I would not get much clay under my nails doing research and teaching in a college setting,” he says. “I had been doing the craft show circuit for several years, had late night basement burnout and the idea of opening a public ceramic studio to help support the production side was my inspiration.” Ten years ago, Lloyd opened 2 Rivers Ceramic Studio, which is both a cooperative community work space and a school for kids and adults in Newbury, Massachusetts.

Stick handle oval casserole - thrown and altered stoneware with food safe glazes, oven and dishwasher safe

Stick handle oval casserole – thrown and altered stoneware with food safe glazes, oven and dishwasher safe

Lloyd works in porcelain and stoneware using a combination of wheel throwing and hand building. The latter allows him to add features that are more sculptural, adding “a bit of whimsy and function to pieces.” He employs age-old firing techniques in a reduction kiln with handmade glazes to produce serving dishes, teapots, bottles and lamps. “I recently recreated tiles for a building in Boston that had to match originals from 1880,” he says, “Traditional techniques with an eye toward functionality appeal to me.”

Rocking teapot, wheel thrown and altered porcelain with celadon glazes

Rocking teapot, wheel thrown and altered porcelain with celadon glazes

An array of colors from earthy to vibrant adorns his creations. Rust red and cerulean accent his pie plates, platters, brie bakers and covered dishes. Bowls and mugs are painted with pale greens, drizzled in soft browns. His trademark “rocking teapots” are offered in glossy creams, oranges, golds, blues and greens. Trademark curlicues function as handles while adding some fun to his designs.

Lloyd’s work has found its way into many homes and he feels he has “done well if the daily use or connection to a piece has made someone’s life a bit better.” Still, teaching is clearly in his blood. “I am past wanting the flash of fame. I like being the village potter, helping, mentoring others with the clay to find their muse,” Lloyd says. “I can point to many fine craftspeople who have come through my studio and gone on to start great careers. That is very satisfying in itself.”

Visit Lloyd and see his beautiful and functional pots at both Paradise City shows this fall.