Lifetime Achievement

Prospect’s Ross selected for
Governor’s Award in the Arts

She handcrafts beautiful pottery,
teaches at home studio

PROSPECT, Ky. (August 2013) – Laura Ross’ pottery has an energetic quality that sets it apart from that of other clay artists. Her artwork reflects traditional fine craftsmanship in a functional format that is organic in nature.
Ross has been interested in art from a very early age, “having always dabbled in it,” she said. But when she was in elementary and high school, there were no art programs for her to participate in to further her skills or know if she wanted to pursue art as a career.
Ross, 66, attended Western Kentucky University earning a certificate to teach art. “In doing this, I had to take classes in all mediums,” she said.


She ended up at the University of Louisville when trying to obtain her master’s degree in painting. She eventually switched her focus from painting to ceramics, earning a master’s degree in a medium in which she has worked for the last 30 years.
Ross’s artwork is mainly created “for the table,” she said. She crafts such useful everyday items as pots, casserole dishes, bowls, teapots and olive oil curettes.
Ross was recently selected to be the recipient of a 2013 Kentucky Governor’s Award in the Arts. These awards are presented by the Kentucky Arts Council for outstanding contributions, achievements in and support of the arts. Recipients will be recognized at a public ceremony at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 29, in the Capitol Rotunda in Frankfort.
Upon the revealing of the award recipients’ names, Gov. Steve Beshear said, “I am honored to acknowledge and celebrate the artistic excellence of these Kentucky artists and arts organizations that have influenced culture in the Commonwealth and beyond our borders.” These recipients represent “the best of our state’s artistic community.”
The Governor’s Awards in the Arts are presented in nine categories: Milner Award, Artist Award, Business Award, Community Arts Award, Education Award, Folk Heritage Award, Government Award, Media Award and National Award.
“Nominations are made by the public based on the criteria for the different categories,” said Emily B. Moses, Communications Director for the Kentucky Arts Council. There are many ways an artist can benefit from winning the award.
“The Artist Award recognizes lifetime achievement in the arts. This speaks volumes about an artist’s work, in general. Artists who receive the award have demonstrated a lifetime commitment to the arts and great influence in the art world in their medium,” said Moses. “The Governor’s Award is the highest honor in the arts given by the Commonwealth.”
Upon learning of her selection for the Artist Award, Ross said she was “blown away. There are so many good artists in the state. I am deeply honored.”
To surround herself with others having similar interests, Ross is a member of Louisville Clay and the Kentucky Craft Marketing program. She sells her artwork locally at Edenside Gallery & Crafts and has a showroom in her home on Belknap Beach Road in Prospect called Laura Ross - Studio Clay.
Originally from Horse Cave, Ky., Ross moved to the area to complete her master’s degree and liked it so well that she ended up staying for the past 20 years. Creating functional pottery has been a full-time job for Ross.
“Natural organic forms inspire me,” she said. “I’m drawn to forms in general. The longer I do it, the simpler and more pure the forms get.”
Ross said she tries to make her pottery “somewhat unique.” The way she does this is by using a soda gas kiln to fire her pottery in. Earlier in her career, she used wood firing, which she found to be “very arduous. It took four to five days of firing to get a piece of pottery.”
Not wanting to use this method anymore, she discovered in 2007 that soda firing was the closest she could get to wood firing. “I liked the effects of the soda kiln,” Ross said. “Not many people use this method.”
The soda kiln allows Ross to get a rich texture and a brighter glaze with lots of depth. It causes the pots to have an atmospheric and accidental quality. She adds the soda ash at a certain point in the firing and it reacts with the clay in a way so that, “you never know what you’ll get.”
For the last nine years, Ross has been teaching classes at her Prospect studio. Most classes are for beginners but some are for the more advanced student, she said.
“Early on, I never thought I would enjoy teaching. It has grown to be an important part of my life. I love all of my students. They bring a lot to my studio.”
Nominations for the Governor’s Awards in the Arts are accepted annually from the public. The deadline to make a nomination for the 2014 awards is Nov. 1. The Kentucky Arts Council is responsible for coordinating the nomination and selection process for recommendation to the governor.

• For more information on Laura Ross’ artwork, visit: www.LauraRossStudioClay.com.

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