A native Angeleno, artist Toni Lawrence's childhood years were in Rome, Italy, which, she says, provided the single-most important influence on her work. "The myths and fairy-tales that were read to me in Italian," recalls Lawrence, "are the basis for the recurring themes in my ceramics and watercolors today." Ms. Lawrence maintains her residence and art studio in Pe Ell, Washington state.
"I started working in clay in the 1970's when my friend Herve Villechaize invited me to a pottery class where I learned to throw on a wheel. When my wheel at home broke, I started hand-building and fell in love with the organic feel of a cup; I never looked back! My work reflects a look into the past as well as to the future, and looking more gently into the nature of seeing. Sentimentality chipped to the core becomes a platform for more universal issues; my ceramic works are small universes where the persona of the 'Little Prince' might find his rose, where cats, and creatures of 'quixotic' proportions romp over a terrain that is reminiscent of my growing up in Rome, Italy, under the pine trees of the Fregnea and exploring the ruins of the Roman Forum. My ceramic work is hand built and varied, from delicate to robust, all part of a prodigious activity brought to life within a small volcano, the kiln, that fires everything into being."
Working almost exclusively in clay since the mid-eighties, Lawrence's work -- known for its lyrical, fluid style and whimsical sense of humor -- is currently being shown and collected internationally. Some of her collectors include Whoopi Goldberg, Emma Thompson, Mark Addy, Kimberly Hefner and casting agent Judith Holstra. Called 'Functional Art,' many of Toni's pieces pull double-duty as fountains, lamps, mirrors and candleholders. "Each piece is completely unique," Lawrence asserts, "no two are alike. "