Lani Allman is the owner of Muddy Hands Pottery in Northeast, Ohio. Her love of clay shows in the appealing shapes she creates and the glazes that hug each piece.
Many of her pieces are not only works of art, but functional pieces, like cereal and soup bowls, oil dipping plates, mugs and cups, utensil holders, and more. But occasionally you will find a comical little bug or whimsical flat frog that will catch your heart and make you want to take it home and give it a place of honor in your home.
Life-like ceramic pears that are painstakingly hand built and graced with actual pear stems, or garden masks with clever and almost recognizable faces are other items you might see in our shop. But, if you fall in love with a piece, you better gather it up immediately as it may not be there the next time you stop in. The homey and warm character of Lani's pieces lend themselves well to any decorating style and make lovely gifts for any occasion!
I took a beginning pottery class in 1974 at the Massillon Museum. I had one session, loved it and planned on continuing....then the building was condemned. It took me almost ten years to find another place to play in the clay. I never took another class, just hung out in various studios and taught myself how to throw. My mentor was Rosemary Benson in Canal Fulton, it was with her that i learned to love hand-building as well as throwing. When she closed her studio, I vowed I would not be without clay in my life again....and started buying my own equipment.
I eventually found my way to the Canton Museum of Art and became a member of the Canton Potters Guild. Wonderful facility and great potters. I did some teaching there and eventually at the Massillon Museum too, the place where it all started. What an ego boost for a single mother
with two kids.
At that stage of my life pottery making was limited by time and money. My children are grown and have given me wonderful grandchildren and the pottery now is self-supporting. The time constraints are still looming over my head however. I am still working full-time, for Castle Aviation, at a job that I love, but that puts a big hole in my day. I have to fight myself for studio time but the draw to create seems to be growing.
My daughter and I also do traditional rug hooking and I love that too. I have narrowed the scope of my interests to what I call the big two; the pottery and the rug hooking. I thought I really wanted to learn quilting, but discovered it was too structured for me and what I really wanted to do was to buy fabric. I was very good at that.
I consider my pottery style as whimsically functional. I love the simple things.
The form itself is important to me. I do not do a lot of decorative work on my pieces, I want them to be comfortable to use and live with. Sometimes the whimsy in my soul peeks out and wants to play.