Andi Sobbe – Second Nature Pottery
Art lovers who attend the 2019 Chatham Studio Tour will be treated to a drive down lovely tree lined roads past glistening Jordan Lake to Andi Sobbe’s Second Nature Studio – her debut to The Tour. “I’m so happy to be able to share the beautiful, peaceful natural surroundings that inspire my work,” explains Sobbe. The motifs of her colorful functional pottery reflect the trees, leaves, insects, frogs and birds that are her natural environment. “I enjoy making pottery,” she says, “but that pleasure is secondary to the knowledge that people actually use my art in their everyday lives – drinking coffee, eating lunch, and displaying flowers.”
Sobbe has been seriously working as a potter for about 10 years, but she has had a love affair with clay since the age of 12 when she earned her ceramics badge with an Indianapolis Girl Scout troop. She took pottery classes on and off through college at DePauw University.
Upon graduating from college, Sobbe joined the Peace Corps and served in South Korea for four years, teaching English as a second language. After a sojourn in Venezuela, she settled in Los Angeles where she embarked on a career as fundraiser for non-profit organizations.
At first, she continued her ceramics studies. In Korea, she studied with a pottery master. In LA, she joined a potter’s coop, but soon, with a young child and a full-time job, her pottery obsession became confined to collecting vintage pieces at flea markets and thrift shops.
Sobbe’s journey to North Carolina was purposeful and fortuitous. Life in LA with a small child became too hectic and stressful. The family researched desirable locations and North Carolina’s Triangle area rated high. Andi was hired as a fundraiser at UNC and they moved to Chapel Hill. She served the University for 22 years, earning a master’s degree in the process. When her daughter left for college, she filled the empty nest by studying with David Gould at Good Earth Pottery.
“I thought that it would be very difficult to recover my skills after 25 years,” she recalls, “but it was like riding a bike – second nature.” Thus Second Nature Studio was conceived. Her final step to Chatham County also had an unusual twist. She had been divorced and was remarried to a contractor who lived on property that had at one time been an ostrich farm. Sobbe’s Second Nature Studio is now in the building where ostriches were hatched and nurtured. Her studio is equipped with a wheel, pug mill, slab roller, and electric kiln. “I have a 45-second commute to work,” she quips.
Sobbe began selling her pottery in 2005 in a venture in Chapel Hill called Whimsical Women. Her work is now available at Woman Craft in Carrboro and Cocoon Gallery in Apex. Her pieces sell from $8 to $95. “I want my work to be accessible so folks will use it,” she stresses.
It will take a few minutes to get to Second Nature Studio the first two weeks in December but the effort will be well worth it.