About the Artist – J Leigh (Jennifer Buckingham)


The Early Years 


 I grew up in sunny southern California for the most part. I moved around quite a bit from 10 years old until high school. We lived in 10 states from the east coat to the west. When I was a freshmen in High School I took a pottery class, but we moved away abruptly and I never got to see my pots fired and finished. My junior year I took my first sculpture class, I loved it and it seemed such a natural thing for me. I have always had a thing for playing in the mud. When I was a very small child, my favorite thing to do was make mud pies, when I was a little older (about 8) my mom let us “dig to China” we had every kid in the neighborhood later we filled the hole with water and there was 7 little kids wallowing in the mud! I am sure the neighbors parents were thrilled.











Life Happens

After I had kids my crafts took on a much wider range. I did alot of painting cartoon murals and such. I still did sculpture with the kids and poly clay. I didn’t have a wheel or a kiln, but often thought of getting one. I remembered wheel work fondly, it was always so peaceful to me. Finding a perfect center, and making something beautiful from nothing but mud. My real passion however, has always been the sculpture work. Time gets away from me when working on a piece, I dream about it in motion at night, it consumes me until it is done. I feel that passion puts a little bit of my heart and soul into every piece I do.


      I spent 15 years without following my passion. I worked as a Spa Sales person traveling and making a living, and raising my kids on the farm we moved onto in Virginia. Everything changed in an instant when I was in an accident and spent time unable to work at my old job and unable to keep up with all the things I had put foremost in my life (taking care of everyone but myself). I had gone into the windshield of the car, and seeing my mortality woke me up. My husband left because I would never again live up to his expectations as a wife.

Mud Colored Beginnings 


After my divorce, I found my Michael. He has been such an amazing gift, he believes in me, in my dreams and my passions. After many surgeries, and still unable to do much of anything for more than a few hours, I found myself wondering what I was going to do with the rest of my life. Mike and I talked about what was next for me, I had not worked in a few years having one surgery after another. I was finding myself again at 30 years old.

     I had talked about doing pottery and sculpture again, I told him it would be my dream job. A few weeks later he bought me a kiln and wheel tools and everything I needed to get started. I was so excited! Once I got going and making stuff, someone asked if I could make them something special. I loved the challenge of making a custom order and I started making quite a lot of them for people. Thus The Color of Mud was born!

     I enjoy everything, nature, mythical, and geeky. Often that comes out in my pieces. I love creating Original one of a kind works of art. I hope you will enjoy them as well.









Here and Now

  Since the decision to stay true to my art and make the things that make me happy, I immediately noticed a difference in the responses from people. Everything seemed to ‘click’. Currently I am working on not one but two full sized dragons for the Virginia Museum of Natural History. (OK so one is just the head and tail  technically)  Apparently when they are done I will ‘need’ to travel with them to various countries they may visit! (Oh no! The Horror!) I feel excited to see where this path takes me in the next 2 years. Like really excited!

    I have teamed up with my husband (because he is really handy with engineering, welding and all that mathy crap), and a local Artist David Husser who will be doing the wall mural for the first dragon project and giant trees to hide pillars in the next project. (because we all I am drawing challenged) I also knew I couldn’t do this large of a project alone and it’s good to have a team to play with, learn from, and share this experience.  Wish Us Luck!






 Artistic Growth

   That brings us to today. A few years ago I decided I wasn’t going to do anymore ‘normie’ pottery. I was making plain ole bowls and stuff to sell to the masses. I filled the kiln with them and, well, it wasn’t ‘me’.  I make bowls and mugs now but they have sculptures on them all. It was a scary move, as it made my average cost go way up in price. Every piece I make now is a little piece of who I am. (as  it should be or can we really call it art?)     I branched out from the clay medium and added my cloth dragons and other creatures. I struggled to get the details I love in tiny sculptures. My eye site isn’t what it used to be.  Going bigger with lighter weight (recycled) materials allows me to add the tiny  details that make me happy.  Plus how cool are huge wall trophies?! When I played DAoC my in game house was full of trophies I spent hours waiting for rare spawns so I could add another! I get asked often; “Why Dragons?” I seem to never know the answer. I just love them. They are versatile and  there is a freedom with them. There is no ‘wrong’ way to make a dragon. I let my imagination go wherever it decides to go when making dragons, that freedom as an artist is pretty awesome! I have many other types of mythical creatures I want to create once I try this idea I had for another dragon!  

    I did manage to make Lady Vashj and I am closing in on finishing the Beholder I started. The next non-dragon should be a Cthulhu since I dreamed of him a few times now. lol