Art has been a part of me since I could hold a pencil in my hand. As a child, when asked what I wanted to be, the answer was always definitively and without hesitation, ‘an artist.’ I was introduced to clay in high school, and my 20 year love affair with pottery began. When my son was born 8 years ago, I took pottery class as a way to have a little something for me every week. I wasn’t satisfied with just a couple of hours a week, though, and my fun class quickly turned into an apprenticeship and then before I knew it we were building a pottery studio in my backyard. With the support of my husband, I took a leap of faith and abandoned my enrollment in nursing school to start Joyful Clay. That was 2 years ago, and I haven’t looked back. Being a potter just fits.
What is your favorite piece that you have created or are most proud of?
Ceramics is a different medium from other fine arts in that it requires quite a bit of training to really learn the craft. After taking years of classes and apprenticing for two production potteries, I had learned different techniques and methods to creating both hand built and wheel thrown pieces. When I ventured out on my own, it was really important to me to establish my own voice in my work, and not just be a reproduction of the potters I had learned from. I wanted to take what I knew and turn it into something authentically ‘me.’
When I began to develop my method of working with stamps, I knew I was on to something that other potters weren’t doing. From this, my logo work was born, and this quickly became the fastest growing area of my business. I find great satisfaction and pride in my production work of logo mugs and other items. Where decals and printing methods are trending with other potters, I use a method of stamping my logos onto hand rolled slabs and attaching them to mugs. Each logo is painstakingly hand-painted with considerable attention to detail. This method brings me much joy in really letting me explore the depths of my type-A personality!
What is the most memorable response to your artwork that you have experienced?
I always appreciate feedback on my work, and when I have return customers at my markets or online, I know I’m doing something right. I love it when someone tells me that my style is fresh, current, relevant, and different than other ceramic work out there. I work hard to have my work be an authentic reflection of me, and it is wonderful when it is recognized as such.
How did you find out about HERE. and when did you first have your work featured?
It’s hard to live in the Annapolis community and not know about HERE. a pop up shop. Once I had established Joyful Clay, I knew one of the first places I would look to sell my work would be at HERE. I sent Amy and Ellen some photo samples, and they agreed to allow me to sell my work in their holiday pop up in 2014. Since then our business relationship has grown into creating logo work for their pop up and online shops, and I’m so thankful I was able to muster up the bravery to approach them, and that they gave me a chance to sell my work, in what seems like ages ago now!
First impression of Amy and El
Amy and Ellen are energetic and warm, and so excited about their artist’s work. Brilliant business women, they have an inspiring passion and drive for encouraging people to buy local and support their community. I can’t say enough positive things about Amy and Ellen- they are essential to the Annapolis community, supporting the arts and diligently working to bring people together to appreciate those arts. They help make it possible for an artist to make a living off of their work, in a world where quitting one’s day job and living off of one’s art is an intimidating thought for an artist. I met Amy and Ellen when I was just starting out, and still a bit unsure of how to make this prospect of being a potter actually work, and Amy and Ellen had such a large part in helping me realize that, yes, I can do this! That there is a desire for work like mine in this town, and HERE. a pop-up shop was the avenue for it to be seen. Amy and Ellen continuously encourage me to keep things fresh and new, and I know I can count on their honest opinion. I always know where my work stands with them-- when they like something, when it might not be exactly what they’re looking for, and I appreciate that. It helps me stay on track and create things that are relevant-- one of my ultimate goals as a potter.
How do you decide which pieces will fit HERE.?
For HERE., Amy, Ellen and I collaborated on creating fun, funky, and boho glamorous pieces that included their amazing logo. People love HERE., and needed a way to flaunt their love for Amy and Ellen!