Lynn Wilkes Armstrong's work will be featured in Artscape at the Dallas Arboretum April 22-24. Above, Forest Teaset by Lynn Wilkes Armstrong. Photos courtesy of the artist.
March 14, 2016
Dallas native and artist Lynn Wilkes Armstrong finds inspiration for her pottery right in her own backyard.
Armstrong, who graduated from Booker T Washington High School for the Visual and Performing Arts in 1977 and obtained a BFA from the University of Texas in 1981, works in an art studio near the Santa Fe Trail. Here she's surrounded by a menagerie of animals, including two dogs, three cats, two large Sulcata tortoises and seven city chickens.
“They chatter at me outside my studio window.”
Dallas artist Lynn Armstrong in her studio.
Not surprising that the owner of Both Hands Studio combines her passion for design with her penchant for flora and fauna in her work. She uses leaves and plants from her yard, impressing the items into clay as textural design elements. She recently started a series of Texas birds and plants hand painted onto large platters and mugs.
“My ceramic art uses nature in both motifs and textures. I get constant inspiration from my backyard. Working in the garden and caring for my city chickens and the giant tortoises keeps me grounded in life’s daily routines and the progress of seasons.”
A self-titled “obsessive gardener,” Armstrong says every slightly sunny spot in her shady yard is put to use in both summer and winter, growing food for her consumption as well as for the animals that frequent her yard.
“I keep collards growing year round for the tortoises and am really looking forward to putting my tomato seedlings in the ground soon,” she says. “We have two greenhouses to start seeds and grow the tropicals and succulents that I plant in my hand made pots.”
She also creates art for decorating gardens like earthenware birdbaths, decorative garden mushrooms, toad houses and a variety of hand built planter pots and sconces.
“I seem to always have my hands in the dirt whether it is digging holes in the garden or throwing clay on the potter’s wheel. I love the idea that I can take a leaf from my garden and impress it into a slab of clay and with the magic of glaze and fire create a functional mug or dish for someone to eat out of.”
Producing and using locally sourced goods are part of her green lifestyle. She recycles leftover clay and uses wind power to fuel her kilns.
“Firing pottery kilns is a large energy hit, so I have always used 100 percent wind power from Green Mountain Energy. The kilns help heat the greenhouse and chicken coop in the winter, and the studio opens up in the summer to passively cool it off.”
She also recently extended her studio's screen porch so that she can work outside more of the year.
“Most of my clay is sourced here in Texas and I garden organically and compost,” she said. “I always attempt to keep a small footprint.”
Armstrong is one of the artists featured in the upcoming Artscape Fine Art Show and Sale at the Dallas Arboretum.
Artscape at the Arboretum
When: April 22-24, 2016
What: Juried fine art show and sale featuring artists from around the country. Event includes demonstrations, food and entertainment.
Where: Dallas Arboretum, 8525 Garland Road, Dallas.
Hours: 9am-5pm, Saturday and Sunday. Friday, members only preview.
Cost: Free admission.