My ceramic work begins with forms found in nature. During days spent hiking the mountains of Western North Carolina and combing the beaches of Green Turtle Cay, Abaco Bahamas, I collect from nature treasures that continue to fascinate me for their form, beauty or unusual characteristics. These forms often cause me to take a second look, waiting to further explore their qualities and uniqueness. I study these forms and begin to construct a “home” of sorts, so that the observer may enjoy the found objects as well as the dwellings in which they reside. Just as in nature, no two are alike. All of my dwellings are handbill from slabs and fired with underglazes and oxides before filling them.

I am continually drawn to the elements of nature, the surprises and the ever changing qualities that exist. Time spent exploring the outside world transcends into my life, my studio and my work. It is responsible for my creative process in clay.
— Valerie

For as long as she can remember, Valerie has collected objects – stones, bugs, driftwood, shells, sea glass. Having studied education in Indiana, and worked long stints as a teacher in Florida, she took a break for several years to work with her boat captain husband on private yachts traveling the world. 

A clay course she took at Penland School of Crafts led to her relocation to nearby Spruce Pine, North Carolina, where she established Rabbit Hop Studio where she creates vibrantly colored hand-built wall pieces, sculpture and jewelry from high-fire clay.