Cecil graduate discovers passion in clay

Published on January 17, 2018

ELKTON, Md. – Whether it is experiencing snowfall for the first time or discovering a new passion as a child, the exhilaration and excitement are the same. That thrilling feeling is what Laura May Maloney felt when she took her first pottery class at Cecil College.

Laura Maloney standing beside her exhibit.
Cecil College graduate Laura May Maloney stands beside her exhibit entitled “Endangered by Greed” during the opening of the Second Annual Emerging Artist Show held at The Palette and The Page in Elkton.
“I was looking for something to do and decided to look into the local college. I like to call myself the perennial college student,” said Maloney. Maloney was among the featured artists at January's First Friday event of the year in Elkton. Her work was on display and available for sale as part of the Second Annual Emerging Artist Show held at The Palette and The Page on Friday, Jan. 5. A May 2016 graduate from Cecil College’s Art and Design – Ceramics and Sculpture program, Maloney is a career veteran who retired from the U.S. Air Force in 2008. Upon moving to Oxford, Pa., she was seeking new challenges. “I found the ceramics program and really fell in love with it. I found it very exciting and challenging. The possibilities with the clay, anything from rolling out a slab to throwing a piece on the wheel to building something, there is so much opportunity there,” said Maloney. Under the guidance of Professor Lauren Vanni, Maloney discovered she had a natural feel for working with clay, and she embraced the new experience. “Lauren was my instructor and there was a lot of encouragement and a lot of pushing me outside of what I thought I was capable of accomplishing,” said Maloney, who is using this medium to advocate and bring awareness to endangered species. “(Glazing) is the make or break situation for each piece. Once you get a piece you really enjoy, you know the next step is glazing and you just don’t always know if you are going to be happy with the way it comes out. I have lost a lot of pieces to the glazing process because I didn’t care for the color as it took away from it instead of enhancing it.” The main piece on display at the Emerging Artist Show by Maloney was entitled “Endangered by Greed.” It featured an elephant, mountain gorilla, whale, and elephant tusks all wrapped with an interlaced chain. The entire piece is ceramic except for the railroad spike that anchors these majestic animals to the base. “This one here, I was hoping it would come out as well as it did and it turned out better than I could have imagined. I really feel strongly about using my art as a voice for endangered animals,” said Maloney. Another local artist taking part in this First Friday event was Cecil College art student Callie Dowe, a Cecil County resident. She works with darker stoneware clays and using various surface design techniques. Focusing on wheel throwing and surface decoration, her mugs exhibit intricate designs with contrasting colors. Dowe has participated in several community art events including a workshop at the Falling Leaves Art Festival, a demonstration at Unity in the Community festival, and art auctions.