By Marisa Miller

This post is part of a series of features on various Pewabic employees.

A silversmith by trade turned ceramicist, Neil Laperriere has a unique perspective on art and what has led him to where he is today.

Laperriere attended Rochester Institute of Technology in New York to study metal and jewelry design before graduating in 2007.

by Neil Laperriere
Canopic Jar for Church of Philadelphia (Lid Detail), 2005

Though Laperriere still enjoys the craft of silversmithing, he says he does so less and less every day. Having the proper facilities to practice one’s craft is crucial to maintaining a relationship with it, he says, and this is what led him away from metal and toward other forms of art.

“So much of what you can do artistically is contingent on your facilities,” Lapierre said. “[Due to not having proper facilities for working with metal], I did a lot of different 2D art commissions for bands, and I did a lot of collage art and multimedia work.”

by Neil Laperriere
Gemüsemann, 2015

When his former college roommate moved to California to work with his own craft of photography, Laperriere realized he too needed a change.

After applying for a job in the fabrication department at Pewabic, he got the job, and started working in May of 2008. Even though working with clay was somewhat of a new realm for Laperriere, he jumped in and started learning.

Now, having been at Pewabic for eight years, Laperriere holds the title of Quality Control Specialist for the pottery. In addition to this, Laperriere works on executing final architectural tile layouts and their packaging, and he assists in the kiln room with the firing of pottery. He’s seen and done a lot in his time spent working with Pewabic.

Fireplace Tile final layout confirmation
Neil laying out architectural tile on the kiln room floor.

I like pretty much everything that happens here,” said Laperriere. “It’s a wonderful annex of history. Everything that makes it legendary is what drew me here, and is what keeps me here. It’s been my family.”

Laperriere says he’s seen more positive change in the past two years than the other six, as he’s seen more efforts to preserve and celebrate Pewabic’s rich and storied past.

“Things are definitely shaking up in a good way,” said Laperriere. “As we move forward, we are still reaching back in history.”

While working with clay wasn’t Laperierre’s original plan, over the past eight years spent at Pewabic, he’s found his true calling.