How did you get started working in porcelain? I fell in love with clay about 17 years ago, but one of my class mates in college talked me into trying porcelain because I was using really transluscent glazes at the time... It was love at first touch.
Are you self taught or have you gone to art school, taken classes, apprenticed? I went to UNC-Asheville and received a BFA in Ceramics in 2006. I have also taken some classes and workshops at Odyssey Center for Ceramic Art to further my education after receiving my degree.
Is creating for Element Clay Studio your full time job? I have been creating full time for 2 years now.
I'm so intrigued by the natural qualities in your pieces and the use of texture and repetition in your work. How/where do you find your inspiration? I love the ocean, and really all things in nature. I look at a lot of macro photography, take walks and pick up odds and ends, and look at lots of pictures of ocean creatures, most recently I purchased a bunch of little succulents and put them on the center of my work table.
Gallery display of Tiles and Bowls
How do you stay inspired? It comes and goes, but I try to mess around in the studio for fun whenever time allows. The slow time after christmas is my opportunity to experiment and come up with new ideas and to solidify projects that have come to mind during the busy times. On a daily basis, I just try to let myself rest when I need to, this helps to recharge my batteries. I will take a random day off here and there to bake cookies or go gallery hopping.
You are one of my favorite sellers on Etsy and I'm fairly certain that most Etsy goers have seen/purchased/admired your shop and porcelain wonders. Do you have any advice on how to be seen on Etsy? Photography is probably the most important thing next to making a unique product that conveys a clear vision, and renewing items daily. I am always snooping around on Etsy, and I must say, I see a lot of shops that are kind of all over the place, and a lot of fuzzy and distracting pictures. You have a tiny little thumbnail with which to grab a shoppers attention, use it to your full advantage! I rearrange my pictures on listings and do experiments to see which shots get the most views. Critique your work, or ask others for an honest critique, and push yourself to make a better product to go with your amazing pictures!
Do you advertise? I have yet to advertise. My business has been all word of mouth and Etsy related. That little thumbnail is a powerful thing.
What is the one thing (ok maybe two things) that inspire your work the most? Nature and the feel of porcelain
Who is the one artist/person/author/musician that has influenced you and your work the most? Alice Ballard and Jennifer Prichard.
What music do you listen to when working, if any at all? I have a million Pandora stations, mostly indie rock, with some motown and old country for good measure.
Pair of Succulent Micro Tiles
Heather working in her Asheville, NC studio
Element Clay Studio
There's lots to see, admire and covet in Element Clay Studio's shop