Making pots is both personal and universal. As a maker of utilitarian pots, my design decisions are based on the needs of function as I stretch my aesthetic and grow my visual vocabulary.
I am a functional potter with my eye on utilitarian and sculptural concerns. Elegance of line and fullness of form are aspects I continually seek in my work. I distil both my ideas, designs and forms to their simplest components, for I wish to imply the ultimate strength of a pot -- to enhance and even magnify musculature of form, tautness of surface, and clarity of line.
My current work, using a flameware clay body, has provided me the material and process to explore and hone the ideas and needs of utility in an art object for everyday use. The way a spoon scoops out food so as not to be impeded by the protrusion of the shelf for the lid, the way a lid fits during rapid boil, the lift of the sides of the pot for perfect braising, the transition between flat bottom and side of the pot for easy removal of the food within. Surface considerations include easy release of food, ease of clean-up, storage needs, food safety, strength, beauty, and simplicity.
Borrowing from centuries of tradition and adding simple modern design elements, I make my flameware cooking pots for stovetop, oven, broiler, grill, hearth. I am enamored with the endless possibilities and challenges inherent in making flameproof cooking pots. And because of the many considerations I must entertain while designing and making pots that include ruggedness, simple practicality, beauty, and elegance of form; I am engaged in thoughts of cooking methods, local foods, international recipes, and tabletop culture.
-- Robbie Lobell
Robbie Lobell is co-founder and co-owner of Cook on Clay. She is a full-time studio potter and educator living and working in Coupeville, on Whidbey Island in northwest Washington. Primarily self-taught, Robbie received continuing education through residencies and assistantships. She is a mentor and teacher in her Zakin Apprenticeship Program. She demonstrates and teaches workshops and speaks at conferences and seminars throughout the country and beyond. For the past 15 years Robbie has focused her work on flameware, designing and producing flameproof cookware.
Lobell’s pots reside in kitchens, on tables and in cupboards across the nation. Her flameproof cookware is used by award winning chefs and featured in galleries, gourmet food shops, and at culinary events. Robbie’s work has been exhibited nationwide and featured in a number of ceramics books and ceramic and food publications. She is a member of NCECA, Slow Food, American Ceramic Society, Washington Ceramic Association, and on the Board of Directors for Studio Potter.