My wife and I are big fans of artisan stoneware and pottery, and our collection of pieces has grown over the past 30 years. We have everything from basic bowls and mugs to unusual and unique items such as cutting pots. If you’re not familiar with cutting pots, this signature handcraft created by potter Lorraine Dilmore is worthy of a little explanation …
A cutting pot is a useful as well as decorative vessel that can be filled with water to hold fresh-cut flowers and herbs. It’s essentially a vase with a flat back and a loop, allowing you to hang it on a wall, post, or just about any vertical surface. For those of us who enjoy the beauty and fragrance of outdoor gardens, cutting pots provide an ideal way to bring a little bit of nature inside.
I’m sure that there are many potters who make cutting pots or similar pieces, but I’m partial to Lorraine’s work. I first saw her stoneware at a craftsmen’s fair and immediately was drawn to the elegant shapes and handsome glazes on all of her “pots,” as she refers to them. It was evident that she was a master of her craft and had many years of experience.
Lorraine invited my wife and me to visit her studio after the fair to select pieces that we would like to offer in our store. Little did we know what a delightful afternoon it would turn out to be.
Lorraine’s home is located in Hampton Falls, a bucolic apple orchard town on the seacoast of New Hampshire. Her studio is in an old barn that was moved to the 40-acre site about 100 years ago. According to historical records, two brothers argued over the ownership of the original barn. To settle their differences, they cut the barn in half. The portion of the structure that now houses Lorraine’s studio was moved to its present location with a team of oxen.
In 1974, even before her house was built, she began making pottery in the barn. Since then, her studio has grown from a corner room in the barn to what is now the entire first-floor studio and gallery.
Lorraine’s work has been featured in galleries throughout Maine, New Hampshire, New York, and Massachusetts for many years. One of her hand-thrown bells adorned the first Clinton White House Christmas tree.
Although she enjoys creating all types of “pots,” Lorraine says that she is especially fond of making functional stoneware that is primarily used in the kitchen because she loves to cook. (Her pottery has been featured on the PBS series Ciao Italia with Mary Ann Esposito.)
We have several of Lorraine’s items in our home—covered casserole dishes, a soup tureen, and pasta bowls, to name just a few. But it’s no surprise that the ones that get the most compliments from our guests are her cutting pots!