The Feminine Touch

Three women artisans in RVA offer a glimpse into their creative work in clay, ceramics, and ... marshmallows

Article by Mary Ellin Arch

Photography by Jacqui DePas & Provided Images

Originally published in Midlothian Lifestyle

Joanna Gragnani, Objects Arsenal

“When I am making pottery, I imagine organic forms, rising up from the earth.”

Joanna Gragnani got hooked on clay in her freshman year in high school. She studied art history at the University of Virginia and interned at the clay studio at Richmond’s Visual Arts Studio. Now working out of her space at Blue Dot Studios, she focuses on hand-building organic forms. She teaches hand-building at the Visual Arts Center and Hand/Thrown Studio, and she also leads mobile clay classes around Richmond in customers' homes and businesses.

Andrea Johnson, Karmalita’s Marshmallows

“We are a nut-free business and strive to create products that are a bit safer, with hopes to one day allow those with allergies to enjoy our confections without worry.”

Who says art has to be painting or sculpture or in some way gallery-worthy? Andrea Johnson makes her art out of food – marshmallows, to be specific. Karmalita's (named after Andrea’s daughter) is a handcrafted marshmallow and s'more pop-up business in RVA. Voted among the top three of RVA's Best Pop-Up, Karmalita’s creates artisan s'mores to order and provides marshmallow confections and gourmet hot chocolate. Customers find Karmalita’s marshmallows to be “softer, more flavorful, a little less sweet, and creamy when toasted.”

Meg Morrison, Meg Morrison Design

Meg Morrison recently moved from woodturning to working with clay.

“My pottery pieces are made with a hand building technique called coil building. I work with a gritty sculpture clay that feels a bit like plunging my hands into wet beach sand. After sculpting the piece in my home studio, I finish it at the Visual Arts Center. First, I tint clear or white glaze with bold colors I blend from pigment powders called Mason stains. Then after the work is fired I sandblast and treat my vase or sculpture with mineral oil to give it a buttery soft finish."

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