LACONIA — With her father an artist and her mother a musician, it's not hard to understand where local attorney Jen Brooks gets her artistic talent.
A potter, Brooks is opening Redneck Potters in the same suite as her law offices at Eight Gables shopping center (585 Union Avenue) this Friday night.
Brooks said she came to pottery early when her father, an artist and eventual dean at Plymouth State College, found a foot operated potter's wheel and she started making things.
"It was fun, but I found it hard to keep my clay in the center," she said.
Brooks attended Holderness School, where her mother was the music director, and said that at the time the school had a very small arts program but it included a pottery section where she trained under Bertha Waters, who was the wife of famous New Hampshire wood engraver Herbert Waters.
She said she earned the Art Award at Holderness School for three of her four years there and went on to attend the University of New Hampshire on a Fine Arts Scholarship.
Because she loved her work-study job cooking in the faculty lounge, she changed her major to Hotel Administration and worked for a chef who was from the Culinary Arts Institute in Newark, New Jersey.
"I fell in love with cooking," she said.
After graduation she was the food and beverage manager at the Ashworth in Hampton and later branched out on her own. She said her solo venture didn't prove to be what she had hoped so she worked in various kitchens while she went to law school at night.
Back permanently in Laconia, she said she bought her own electric potters wheel and worked out an arrangement with Mike Verhoeks — she would turn her own pottery and use his glazes and kiln.
"I finally bought a kiln in 2014," Brooks said, noting she found it on Ebay and went to Long Island to bring it back.
Most of what will be on display in her pottery shop is from that time forward. Also on display are some smaller items like Christmas Tree ornaments that are made by her wife Joyce Dunwoody.
Brooks loves blues and earth tones. She said her glazes are based on how much of each one she can procure because she is "a dipper and not a painter," two potting techniques that create a different looks.
All of Brooks's collection is made with the intent of being used practically.
"There is no lead, they are dishwasher safe, oven safe, and microwave safe," she said.
"I make functional items that people can use," she said.
The grand opening of Redneck Potters is Friday from 3:30 to 6 p.m. Anyone who attends will get a non-expiring 10 percent off coupon as well as enjoy snacks and soft drinks.