Selden Lamoureux grew up in Whippany, New Jersey not far from NYC and had a circuitous route to her Bynum, NC pottery studio. After receiving a degree in anthropology at Boston University, she continued her studies in archaeology in Mexico. “After that, I had my back-to-the-land period, living in the Virginia and Carolina mountains, raising bees and doing occasional office and factory work to pay the rent,” she smiles. She also worked seasonally as a survey archeologist for the Forest Service.
“Then I found my life’s work,” she remembers. “The first time that I sat down at a potter’s wheel, it was instant recognition.” “I couldn’t make anything, but I was fully absorbed — sensing the grammar and vocabulary of clay — and it felt like a blessing.” “For me, making pottery is very much like meditation,” she reflects. “I am fully present — clay, water, wheel — like silk spinning through my hands. More than thirty years later I haven’t tired of the feel of clay or of seeing something come from nothing.”
Selden specializes in functional stoneware and porcelain. “My work is not flashy or showy,” she explains. “I am searching for that perfect balance between visual and tactile. Above all, I want my pots to be useful and used.” Her love of clay initially took her to Haywood Technical College in Clyde, NC where she earned an Associate Degree in Production Crafts, and to Cedar Creek Gallery north of Durham, where she had a studio for 12 years and sold her work.
The last step in Selden’s journey to Chatham County involved another career detour. “Although I had been able to make a living as a potter, I was heavily dependent on good health and cheap rent. I decided that I had better find a way to support myself in old age,” she notes. In the 90s, Selden earned a master’s degree in English as a Second Language and taught adult education for two years at Central Carolina Community College. Then she attained another graduate degree in Library Science and worked first at UNC and later at NC State.
Selden’s pots sell from $5 to $125. She has exhibited at art events such as the Eno River Festival, Bynum Bridge Fest, Pittsboro Street Fair. Her work has appeared in Ceramics Monthly as well as local publications. Currently her work is available at her studio by appointment.
The first two weekends in December, Selden’s pottery studio will be open to the public during the Chatham Studio Tour. “I hope that people can feel the joy that I feel in creating this work,” she expresses. No doubt – visitors to her studio will have that experience.