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CCA Gallery, Logan Village Mall, Minnetrista Cultural Center, Ferrer Gallery, Indiana State Museum Gift Shop, Hamilton County Arts Center
Carol Bell

“I love taking a simple lump of clay and seeing what I can create. I stretch the clay, I stretch myself. Most of all, I love creating pieces that bring a little bit of joy to everyday life.”

Actress Demi Moore’s hands persuaded Carol Bell to try her own hand at pottery.

Carol was fascinated by the scene in the movie “Ghost” where Moore’s character is throwing a pot on the wheel as “Unchained Melody” plays in the background. “When I saw her hands slowly breathe life into the clay, centering, then pulling and stretching the clay into a beautiful pot, I thought to myself, ‘I’m going to try that someday,'” Carol said.

A few months after she left her corporate job, she took a pottery class and has had her hands in clay since 1997.

It wasn’t an easy start. Blue Moon Pottery’s first home was Carol’s windowless, waterless basement – not the atmosphere most potters seek. She worked there for nine years, then moved to a studio that lets in daylight, has running water and offers much more space. “You can actually look at past images of my work and see when my art blossomed with the newly found freedom and space of my new studio.”

Her mugs, dishes, vases and pots are decorative in style, but she focuses on making them functional, largely due to her childhood.

Carol was one of five children in a family headed by a father who was a successful small businessman. They lived in a rural neighborhood in Anderson. “We didn’t have a lot of money for expensive things where you would just have to look, but not touch,” said the Hamilton County artisan. “We used our things and we enjoyed them, they were part of our daily lives and memories. I enjoy creating work that people want to own and use and which enhances their daily lives.”

Her designs are her own. Carol looks for tools in hardware stores, flea markets and antique stores that will add unique designs and patterns to her work. Carol uses a variety of slips, glazes and resists to breathe life into the clay during the final glaze firing. This creates what has led some of her customers to say “It’s not just pottery, it’s art” and that her work has “a rustic elegance.”

“I infuse elements of nature into my work where possible to delight the senses, creating functional, utilitarian work which is well crafted and designed to sustain everyday use,” said Carol. “Food-bearing ware is light when empty with strong rims and handles that feel good to the hand while in use.”

When she learned about Indiana Artisan, she was pleased that the organization “supports and more importantly celebrates craftsmanship in both food and visual arts,” Carol said. “I am deeply honored to have my work selected as part of such an exclusive and prestigious group of work from craftsmen all over Indiana.”