As many of you know, I had my shop closed for the entire month of June. I was out of town for a couple weeks, and caught up on pending orders. I also had some time to make new goodies! Here are some of my newest Original Hand Painted Necklaces. Notice that I am now offering photo lockets.
It's always exciting for me to be able to interview and feature talented artists on my blog. This month's featured artist is the creative and adorable Lindsay Emery of Suite One Studio. Her pottery is dreamy, and she is definitely someone I would be friends with "in real life". Lindsay is also a member of The Artisan's Gallery Team, and I fell in love with her shop the first time I saw it.
Tell me a little about yourself:
My name is Lindsay Emery and I am the artist behind Suite One Studio, a handmade porcelain pottery line. I have been making pottery for the last six years, basically non-stop. I originally attended college to pursue my interest in visual arts, focusing at the time on 2-Dimensional works. I have always wanted to be an artist, since early childhood. There was never any question that I would spend my life creating and living passionately in pursuit of art.
Throughout my earlier years of education I took art classes in any media I could. I carried a sketchbook in my backpack all through High School, always drawing. My love of lines carried me to college to study drawing which then led into printmaking and painting. While working on my Fine Arts degree I was required to take a Ceramics class. I was not pleased. I had taken a ceramics class in High School and to my complete disappointment we only made pinch pots, ash trays and slip cast Christmas Trees, and that was only when we were not working on our semester long Papier-mâché project. I imagined this nonsense was now to to be continued at $300 per credit hour.
My first day of ceramics I maintained an outward air of complete disinterest. However, on the inside I could feel something stirring. The studio was messy in a way no other room in the Art Building was. And to my surprise this appealed to me. There was life in this room. People worked here. There was something passionate to me about the dusty shelves and the unapologetic lumpiness of unsophisticated beginner work. Making a pile of dirt appear refined was hard to do, and while people were obviously trying not many were succeeding; Yet, there was a peculiar confidence to the imperfections. These novice projects were challenging to their creators, who sat on tall stools with their faces contorted in their extreme focus. There was something altogether wonderfully childlike about this room. I could feel this art in my heart.
That was when I knew I had finally found my medium. Start to finish I could feel passionate about clay, and for me passion is life. Sitting here now in my studio six years later surrounded by dust, clay, drying pots, glazed pots, and muddy water I see a room filled with life, activity and love. I can not imagine my life without clay.
Tell me about your process when beginning new pieces?
I always have a million ideas floating around in my mind for new bowls, fun curvy shapes and bright glazes to try out. Admittedly I don't use a sketchbook as often as I should anymore. But, I rarely find myself with a lack of ideas. Its usually quite the opposite- too many ideas and not enough time. I guess a sketchbook would help with those moments too.. but, this current method of storing the ideas in my mind seems to work just fine, for now anyways.
With that said, I work fairly spontaneously when I sit down at my wheel. I usually decide ahead of time what type of form I will be working on, though I don't focus on any other details. I look at the clay and think “You will be a bowl.” And, I make a bowl. Some days are spent entirely on bowls, while other days each piece I make seems distinctly unrelated to the others I made that day. To start my process I buy my clay and wedge it on a canvas table to remove the air bubbles. This is a lot like kneading dough. Then I take my ball of clay to my wheel and play with the spinning momentum. For my bowls I like to stretch or alter the rims to add a more organic asymmetrical finish, which I feel adds to the handmade aesthetic.
In comparison my vases are meticulously even. I try to make these as close to perfectly symmetrical as possible. I like toying with the notion of traditional pottery, and disproving misconceptions that all pottery is clunky, uneven and heavy. My pieces are light, delicate yet still incredibly durable for everyday use. Creating by hand forms that have the sense of mass production is for me a fun way to practice the skills I have attained through careful repetition and endless dedication.
I make my own glazes, so once a week I spend an entire day mixing up new formulas. I have a few go-to glazes I always have stocked in my studio, such as my aqua, yellow and pink. Many of the other colors I make as I work. At the moment I have been working on developing a new chartreuse and a new purple glaze. The trial and error of this process is exhilarating.
When I first began mixing glazes it was to my initial surprise to learn that the results of the glaze's surface are entirely based in chemistry. I've found myself pretty adept at understanding complex molecular formulas that I never would have imagine I would. I remember rolling my eyes through Chemistry in High School completely certain I would never need to remember that Fe meant Iron, and that I could just say “Iron” for Iron happily my entirely life. Funny how things work out. Now, mixing glazes is one of my favorite parts of the handmade process. I will never touch a commercial glaze again. I love that creating my own glazes involves me even further in the creative process of each handmade porcelain pot.
Do you support yourself with your art? (Is it your vocation?)
In the last year I have made the transition to full-time artist. This was a very gradual transition for me. A year ago I was teaching private pottery and painting lessons at an art studio part-time, waittressing part-time and running my Etsy shop: http://www.suiteonestudio.etsy.com. I felt like I was being pulled in a million different directions. And, I knew I only wanted to give in to one of them. The six months I spent juggling everything is in my memory a very dark and blurry time. I was overwhelmed and overworked. But, for me every bit of the unpleasantness had to happen because it forced me to stand confidently on my decision and step forward with assertive direction. I was determined to make the shift to art full-time. I now work from my home studio and support myself entirely from my pottery.
Do you have a studio? Tell me about your workspace.
Yes, well sort of. Basically I am slowly deconstructing my house with my overflow of pottery. I had my wheel in my bedroom for a while, but have now taken over my dining room. My dining table is now disassembled up in my attic and I have a work table and wheel in this "studio" room. I do all my glazing in my kitchen. Once a week you can't even find my stove, the room is so filled with pots and glaze chemistry supplies. My attached garage has two large work table and pots covering them and the most of the floor. I wrap all my orders and pack in my living room. I fire my kiln in my basement. My home studio is really just that!
What is your main inspiration?
My inspiration is a fusion of a few basic principals. I love nature and am inspired by the natural world, so I work with soft organic shapes. I also have a strong attraction to bright colors, in part an influence of the natural environment as well but also influenced by our modern world which is so heavily concentrated in rich, bold inks and pigments.
I love to spend time at home, and creating a liveable space that is aesthetically pleasing while still feeling used and loved is important to me. I aim to infuse this same idea into my work. My pieces are intended for daily use and daily appreciation. Brightly colored vases are designed to add a pop of color and a warm smile to any room, while my bowls are made to bring the family together and add a special touch to any meal. We need objects in our lives, just as humans always have. My pieces are designed to reflect us; all of us in this modern moment, and the things we value.
What is your dream goal for the next 5 years--where will you be and what will you be doing?
In five years I hope to be just a little further down this path. I would love to expand my operations and eventually have my own studio which could also serve as a small boutique. My kiln will probably need to be upgraded by that point, as I am already firing it almost every other day to keep up with my production. I am thrilled to be busy, and hope only for more of what I am already fortunate enough to have.
What is YOUR best advice to offer someone who wants to be an Artist
Stick with it. If you know you want to be an artist, do it. Each and every person's journey is different, but I am confident that those who pursue their dreams with every ounce of their being will find it. And, there is no better way to live, than to live your dream.
I announced on my Facebook Page that I would be putting my shop on "Vacation Mode" for the whole month of June. Everyone has been very interested and curious as to WHY I would do that. It's definitely unusual to take a month off from your job. I thought I would explain here as to why I am closing up shop for the month of June.
First of all, like most people, Nathan gets 2 weeks of vacation time each year. Unlike most jobs, he has to take his 2 weeks of vacation consecutively. That means this is his only vacation time for the entire year, and I don't want to be working the entire time he is off. We are going camping for part of that time, and are really looking forward to that! We haven't been on any sort of vacation for a year.
At the end of the month, my mom and I are going out of time to visit my sister and her family for a week, yay!
Needless to say, I won't be home for most of the month. During the days I am home, I will be working hard to create lots of new goodies for the shop!