Darlene Series

Obvara (leaven) Pottery. Uncommon goods that feel good to look at and hold.


I named my line of Obvara or leaven-sealed pottery, Darlene, after my paternal grandmother.

Ceramic surfaces are marked and sealed by swirling glowing-hot pieces of thermal-shock-resistant stoneware into a pail of fermented flour mash (it smells a lot like the sourdough starter my grandmother kept, and fed us on, for decades). The fermented brew leaves striking monochromatic marks on the scalded surface of each piece resulting in a uniquely patterned designs that often resembles stars streaking through the galaxy.

Obvara is an Eastern European firing technique thought to have originated in Belarus sometime in the 19th to 20th century. While Obvara does a fine job of sealing ceramic, it is relatively fragile and is for decorative enjoyment only. It is NOT food safe nor is it water proof.


Pancakes. Biscuits. Bread. We ravenously ate everything my grandmother made with her 100-year-old sourdough starter. There was nothing better than a slice of her warm sourdough bread slathered in sweet butter and homemade blackberry jam.

I remember tagging behind her as she picked her way along the creek that cut through the pasture, ran behind the house, and along the stone base of the hill. My grandmother was Midwestern stock but behind her outward practicality was the heart of a rock hound and outdoorswoman. If she were alive today, I know that she would be thrilled to serve as my geology advisor, directing me to the best clay deposits and minerals.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This