Laney Oxman | Feminine Nostalgia
Laney Oxman

born 1946
Resides in Hillsboro, Virginia

Biography      Statement      Ask the Artist      In the Studio
Laney Oxman has won design awards from Niche Magazine three times in the past four years. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Corning Museum of Glass and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. She has worked as an independent studio artist since 1977.


Lately I have been thinking about my forms and surface decoration and I realized I have a recurring theme of nostalgic Victorian femininity. To me the Victorian way of life was very romantic and the form of the Victorian woman was very sensuous. It is from these stimuli that I seek the inspiration for my work, both in the form of the vessels and the composition of women in opulent environments.

In today's society women have been given the equality of men, but so often we have become "workaholics" who never have time to lounge around in opulent surroundings. Instead we work, exercise, shop, clean, and take care of our children, usually dressed in sweat pants, tee shirts and of course running shoes.

Intellectually and professionally I know that as women we have come a long way and worked very hard to gain our equality and respect. But wouldn't it be fun to fantasize a very short visit back into the life of a sensuous Victorian woman, just lounging in an opulent environment dressed in a revealing gown and waiting to be adored and lavished upon?

Ask the Artist

Where do you get the ideas for your work?

The ideas for my work come from my fantasies and subconscious. However, the main stimulus is the female form and its influences in many of the past art eras, such as Baroque, Nouveau, Victorian and just general nostalgia.

Do you work alone on your craft, or with others?

I like to work alone and be able to get into my thoughts without outside conversation or interruption.

Do you ever teach, or take on apprentices?

I taught for many years and found it to be very rewarding and a learning experience for myself as well as my students. However, it did take much time away from my being able to create my own work. I stopped teaching 14 years ago in order to be able to be a full-time craftsman.

What's the most exciting part of creating your works?

The most exciting part of creating my work is watching the form spontaneously take shape in the 3-dimensional aspect and then seeing how it develops as I start to paint on it, as if it were a blank canvas.

What's the most difficult part of creating your works?

The most difficult part in creating my work is deciding when the piece is finished. Once I get into the piece, I get so involved I have trouble stopping. I must know when to stop and say, "It's finished."

What sort of technology do you use in your work? Has the technology of your craft changed dramatically over the past 100 years?

Being a potter, sculptor and painter, the demarcation of these elements is sometimes difficult to distinguish. The painter in me insists on absolute control of color and brushstrokes. This is where the new computerized kilns have given me the control that I demand.

Do you have any advice for somebody just starting out?

My advice to craftsmen just getting started is that you must absolutely love the medium you select and work at it every day and enjoy every moment of the experience; also, it is very important to find your own unique way to express yourself. Always strive to grow in technique and artistry. Creating the same pieces year after year takes the artist out of the craftsman.

Can you share a "secret of the trade" with us--something nobody else knows or that you found out only after years of experience? Put another way--what do you wish somebody had told you when you were just starting out that might have saved you hours of wasted effort?

I do not believe that any of the work I've done is to be considered "wasted effort." Each task was a learning experience and any errors just helped me to grow and develop my craft more. I really don't think that there are any magic secrets. Just lots of hard work and firm dedication to your craft.

What are we missing by experiencing your work through the Internet and not seeing/hearing/feeling/smelling/touching it in person?

By seeing my work on Internet, you will get an overall impression of what I do, but you will miss feeling the shape and being able to read the full imagery of the piece and see the way the brilliant colors and gold interact.

Leon and Sharon Niehues Zachary Oxman