MiVT: Rory Pots

Published: Jul. 25, 2022 at 2:21 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Like many others, Rory Shamlian moved to Vermont for college. She majored in environmental studies at the University of Vermont.

Though Vermont’s environment and natural landscape are beautiful, many of us know how frigid it can be, too.

“Then when I graduated, the winters are so intense here I was like, ‘I’ve got to pick up something that’s like meditative and soothing,’” Shamlian explained.

So, she turned to the BCA clay studio, learning and working there for a few years after graduation. In the meantime, she was left to contemplate what to do for work.

“But it was, you know, many years of figuring out what I wanted to do, whether or not I wanted to continue with the path of my education or do something that’s completely different,” she said.

Shamlian elected to continue pursuing pottery, completing an apprenticeship under Waterbury’s Jeremy Ayers. As she leaned in harder to the pottery dream, she took a women’s business class, and eventually decided to leave environmental studies as a whole to take a chance on herself.

“I initially thought I would open up a community studio but then I decided why not just give my own work a try? I had already done a couple of very small markets, I had been doing it for a number of years and really loved it and I was like, ‘Why not just give myself a shot?’” she said.

She opened up Rory Pots about 2.5 years ago, an eclectic pottery business nestled in the heart of Burlington’s South End. In her studio teeming with natural light, Shamlian throws clay all day.

Her specialties include mid-century modern mugs, bowls, plates, you name it. Most of them feature ‘60s and ‘70s colorways with a contemporary feel.

“I’m really inspired by the design eras of the past. So without things looking necessarily vintage, there’s a timelessness to them,” Shamlian said of her work.

Lately, Shamlian has been playing around with lighting fixtures too. She says she worked at the Lamp Shop on Pine Street for a number of years and fell in love with the engineering process of creating lamps.

While she gets to have a lot of fun at work, she says the best part of it all is working for herself.

“Yes, there are days when I come in and I throw 100 of the same mug and I do that every day of the week for that whole week, or maybe it’s a month of that but ultimately I’m the one that’s taking that on, deciding that I want to do it,” she said.

You can find Shamlian’s work at local stores and online.

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