Ooh a self-interview! A battle of wits between two Christinas! I was kindly invited to participate in ‘The Ever-Expanding Blog Post’ by Anne of Carnevale Clay. (Her work is the amazing spoons and bowls pictured above.) She’s so great! I first saw Anne’s work via the Instagram account of the gorgeous home goods shop, Joinery NYC. I emailed her to ask some professional and business-y advice, and we ended up having a great phone conversation! She makes great color choices on her lovely striped salt spoons, and geez I love the broken edge on those dipped bowls! I’m honored to be in such blog company.
Here we go:
What am I working on?
The other day I walked into the glaze room with the intention of making a few weird christna pieces…and ended up with every piece looking like child-me made it. So that’s what I’m working on! I’m constantly trying to accept my work for the awkward, childlike, nature-inspired beast that it is. I’ve tried to create pottery with a consistent size and decoration and at this point, I don’t think that’s going to happen. I get bored as soon as I try to recreate pieces I’ve already made. I like others’ work that has consistency, but my brain can’t seem to agree with my hands enough to make that happen.
I’ve recently started making macramé hemp plant hangers. BECAUSE I LOVE PLANTS. I do. My Irish grandfather was a professional gardener of Newport, RI, and my mom is a goddess of gardens. So this was bound to happen when I’m cooped up in an apartment without my own garden! I’m also propagating succulents.
Other stuff I’m working on: my website, photographing my work, getting my work into stores, drawing, sketching; reading and watching lots of sci-fi for inspiration.
How does my work differ from others of it’s genre?
As far as ceramics, I suppose my work is more illustrative than some, thanks to the inspiration of my teachers (Clara Hoag, Ted Saupe, Mark S. Johnson) and fellow students at the University of Georgia (Michelle Postma, Beyza Kilic). It’s also pretty loose work…I only took one pottery class at UGA, during my last semester, so everything I’ve done since then has been mainly self taught – hello trial and error, my BFF!! – along with the help of the great folks at Mudstone Studio, run by the lovely Ellen Blomgren (name-dropping left and right, y’all.).
I studied textiles first; that’s what I earned my degree in at Georgia, so my pottery is strongly influenced by pattern and the ideas behind creating a good textile. I hate leaving white space – again, I get bored by it – and I treat pots like a canvas I created. It’s very similar to the way I worked with my screen prints.
My textile prints are fairly experimental…I try a ton of color combinations and techniques without focusing on an end result. My patterns are drawn from whatever is going on in my mind and are hopefully a manifest of my subconscious – the music I’m currently jamming to, the sights I’ve seen on my walks, the travels of my past, my childhood spent exploring the great outdoors. I let my drawings happen without much thought interference.
Why do I create what I do?
I work with ceramics because they are everyday objects; my goal is to add some giggles to your mundane human activities such as consuming food and drinking things. Pottery can be quick to make and even quicker to destroy – prior to firing. Ceramics are impermanent at first, but once you fire them to a couple thousand degrees, boy are they permanent. It’s so satisfying to throw a piece on the wheel and bring it from a block of clay to an awkward, art object that is now a part of the world. And you can drink out of it, too. Or put flowers in it; whatever it wants to do.
Textiles have a crazy, cool history, so it’s great to get to work with them. HISTORY IS FASCINATING/WEIRD/TERRIFYING. (My mom was a history teacher.) When I create a woven or a print, I am referencing the traditions associated with textiles. Considering the history and traditions in textiles, I’m really excited to have the chance to put my drawings into a pattern on a textile. That is awesome. I guess I like permanence? Screen prints are way fun because I can play with color and print the same image with a billion color options. I love every part of screen-printing; it’s all a total joy and I’m absolutely plotting to have my own screen-print studio someday.
How does my creative process work?
I try not to think about it too much. Seriously. Things go well when I let my mind wander into other realms. I started walking a lot when I lived in NYC in 2012 interning for Tara St. James at Study NY, and realized how much inspiration I’d stumble upon on these walks. Whenever I’m having trouble daydreaming, a short or long walk can fix that…and walks have become a common element in my creative process. Jaunts are an important aspect of the mental part of my work.
When creating the physical pieces, my general philosophy is to let the pot or textile form itself. I don’t think I have much of a hand in this…each decision I make is informed by what the material wants to do that day. I might’ve fought with the materials a few years ago but no more! I’m not going to tell my coworkers (the materials used in making my work) how they should act. I’m definitely not seeking perfection in the traditional sense…I can be a perfectionist about certain things, but if there’s perfection in my work, it’s because the material allowed it and had a deep, abiding desire to be perfect.
I hope we all enjoyed this lil’ interview…next week you can hear from some fantastic artisans/artists/makers by checking up on their blogs! I have asked Kristen Chandler of Alanah Textiles, Tara St. James of Study NY, and Elizabeth Ogletree of Liz Ogletree - Art to participate in this self-interview next week! I’ll update you when they’ve posted!