Finding freedom while creating pottery

Local artist uses imprints to create original pieces 

Sheryl Howe first gained a love and appreciation for art from her mother, who she says was an amazing artist. That love for art took root and grew over the years, and today her pottery can be found at Very Violet and Ivy & Sparrow.

After her mother inspired her to develop an interest in art, she found herself in art classes in high school with her then future-husband, Eddie, and art has always been a shared interest for them. Eddie is now a retired firefighter who draws, paints and has created sculptures over the years. Sheryl has also made beaded jewelry and been a florist among many other artistic endeavors.

The Howes have been creating items from clay for more than 30 years. For many of those years, Eddie took a particular interest in making sculptures, and Sheryl would often paint them. They slowly built up their equipment and currently have a studio in their basement including a kiln and potter’s wheel. As such, the bulk of her clay work has been done during the past few years. 

Being essentially self-taught, she has experimented around and learned by doing.

“Not everything was wonderful at first, but that’s how you learn,” Sheryl says. “We just started.”

Sheryl says she loves to be creative in all aspects of art, and it keeps her learning new things.

“I will imprint into the clay anything I find of interest,” she says. “Sometimes I draw into the clay.”

Sheryl’s work—including bowls, vases, wall hangings and plates—are sold in downtown Lee’s Summit. Melissa Wuennenberg, owner of Very Violet and Ivy & Sparrow, says Sheryl’s work is original because she will take something from nature and use it to make impressions in the clay. She has many seasonal items as well.

“Every one of her pieces are completely different,” Melissa says. “It’s not something you would see anything else. It’s very original.”

Wuennenberg says Sheryl’s pieces fit with any décor and range from vintage to whimsical, and her items are affordable.

Given her background as a floral designer, she often imprints leaves and flowers into her work. Sheryl is currently focusing on her pottery for the stores, and the Howes have participated in many art shows over the years. 

“Beginning with a lump of clay, shaping it, drawing on it, carving, imprinting fabrics, laces, botanicals and other found objects is freedom for me,” Sheryl says. “Opening the kiln after a final firing is like discovering a new gift. My work needs to stay fresh and fun.”

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