Local artisans breathe new life into outdated projects. by Brandon Hoops, photos by Keith Borgmeyer CRUZ CHAVEZ At age 22, Cruz Chavez walked away...
By Sade Howell
Angie Johnson, creator of Imagine Creations, started her pottery experience while pursuing a degree in graphic design at MU. Her initial lessons at the wheel began to flourish into something more.
“The emphasis started to be about my spiritual walk,” Angie says. “Now that I’m older, I look back at the things that happened in my life and realize that my major was more of a sacred journey for me than about getting a job.”
As Angie started attending church services at Woodcrest, more connections began to develop between her spirituality and her pottery. “Parallels started to appear for me everywhere,” she says, “how God was working on me, and how I, as the potter, was working on the clay.”
One parallel, for example, was the idea of starting something in life with a plan in mind, but then seeing it unfold in a different way. “I always start one of my works with a vision or a purpose, and then sometimes it ends up not doing what I want it to do,” she continues.
While at Woodcrest, Angie participated in a recovery program where participants were encouraged to make peace with their past hurts. As part of the program, people told their stories, and through pottery, Angie felt like she could tell hers. “I knew I could use the clay to talk about my life once I saw those parallels. I could explain what I was doing as the potter, and then explain what it looked like in my life. It was so powerful because it was so visual, and others have shared that they remember the experience for a long time,” Angie explains.
Along with creating pieces that hold symbolic meaning for Angie, she also creates pieces for others to use and enjoy. “I like when I can hold a mug that fits nicely in my hand and is pleasing to look at,” Angie says while describing the different mugs she creates. Her work incorporates some common themes: trees, inspired after her dad’s passing; messages centered on faith or spirituality; and the emotions evoked by each piece.
Angie currently has pieces for sale at Plume, and she has big ideas about her future in pottery. She’s looking to do more craft shows and to eventually bring people into her space so she can continue to share what being at the wheel means to her, as well as allow others to experience what if feels like to mold the clay.
“People ask me if I want to do classes, and I tell them no,” Angie says. “I want to create a one-on-one experience where people can get their hands in the clay and experience being the potter.”