Local potter Diane Darocha smiles for the camera while working in her studio. Photo submitted
By Veronica Burniston
Local potter Diane Darocha embraces the unique message of each clay piece she shapes, hoping her work will be a blessing in another person’s life. Born in Charleston, South Carolina to a Navy family, Diane’s early years were spent relocating from South Carolina to Rhode Island and eventually to Massachusetts.While living in the small farm town of Lanesborough, Massachusetts, she attended a regional high school in nearby Williamstown.
According to Diane, Williamstown was a “very artsy kind of place.” Its high school offered numerous art courses from woodworking to painting and sketching to clay. Already having a love for art, Diane enrolled in nearly every art course offered. Later after graduating from college, Diane married and moved to Georgia. Eventually, she desired to move closer to her family. Her husband agreed to move as far north as Tennessee, so she pulled out a map, found a small town called Mountain City tucked away near Interstate 81, and has now made it her home for nearly twenty years.
With a renewed desire to work with clay, Diane received a gift certificate for a pottery class taught by Jean Ann Savery. Thoroughly enjoying the class, Diane decided to continue hand-building with clay. She now makes mugs, plates, magnets, and shaving mugs for men. Each piece is unique, displaying its own character and story.
“The act of creating with clay is almost therapeutic,” Diane said. “You can make a box or a mug or a plate. You can add to it or take away from it. I get to create whatever canvas shape I want.”
Residents can find Diane’s shaving mugs, coffee mugs, plates, and magnets at the Johnson County Center for the Arts. In addition, a special line of her mugs and magnets are sold at the Beet Route Catering Company. She considers each individual clay project an opportunity to express herself and love someone else.
“I’ve used art and music since I was tiny to express concepts, feelings, emotions, moments, and messages out to the world…I think that’s what art and music are really supposed to be – a bridge between God and us that brings messages of his love and healing and to help people understand one another better.”
She continued: “Art is your voice. The world needs those of us who create, which everybody can create something. There’s somebody out there, who needs the message your art is putting forward.”
If interested in learning more about Diane and her work, contact her at [email protected]. For more information about the Johnson County Center for the Arts and its many talented artists, visit its website at jocoartcenter.org or visit in-person on Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. or Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.