When a designer creates beautiful products, it’s always lovely to hear about the value of the usability for the customer. Just a quick look around the internet and you will find reference to the Dorothy Domingo handmade nesting bowls, in various colors.
As you’re about to read, that’s fundamental to the way that Dorothy Domingo approaches all of her work.
She wants her customers to enjoy the elegance and crafts(wo)manship from their table or lap rather than from the shelf.
You’re also going to read about the glazes and clay Dorothy prefers and what motivates her to continue doing what she loves.
Name: Dorothy Domingo
Location: Sarasota, Florida
Style: Refined Rustic
Shop: Etsy Store
What made you first get into ceramics and pottery?
I first got into ceramics in college while earning my BFA in drawing from the University of Florida.
I took a lot of ceramics classes for my electives; I was totally hooked! After earning my degree I continued to take classes wherever I could find them, adult-ed, community colleges, etc.
You would be amazed at the talent of the teachers in this field no matter the facility.
I learned so much from all of them.
How would you describe your process for creating your pottery?
My process is tied to the functional pieces I make.
I want to make usable but beautiful pieces for everyday use.
I use the potters wheel primarily; throwing and trimming are my favorite stages of making pottery.
Glazing is less enjoyable for me because I’ve ruined so many good forms with bad glazing but I’ve tried to learn from all my mistakes and refine the process.
I’ve settled on a range of glazes that work well with my clay and forms, and then I expand on that by combining them or grouping them in sets that I find pleasing.
I use a speckled brown clay which adds a more earthy rustic look to the finished pieces than a white stoneware or porcelain clay.
I always joke that my clay does half the work for me because it affects the appearance so profoundly.
What motivates you to keep making your products?
I’m partially motivated to make certain pieces because they sell so well, but there’s always the opportunity to add something new to a group that keeps it fresh and new.
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A new glaze combo, slightly changing the shape of the form itself or the handle, increasing the size (and challenging my throwing skills) or trying to make a new object I’ve never attempted.
There’s always something new to learn with pottery.
The best thing is learning a new technique that I can use with the same materials, and it opens up some real creative opportunities.
Do you ever get stuck or blocked creatively? How do you get past this?
I don’t get stuck or blocked creatively by making my usual line of tableware, but I do feel slightly stifled by only making pieces that I know will sell well.
When I get the time, I like to play with clay, do hand-building, and try forms and techniques that might not end with a marketable product; this way I don’t feel pressure to not takes risks.
Most times it does result in a new line of work for me, so I relish the time when I get to just explore and play with the materials and tools that I have.
What is beautiful pottery to you?
Beautiful pottery for me is work that is functional but pleasing to use.
It’s not just something that you eat your food from or drink from, but it adds to your meal: a visual and tactile enjoyment of the surface and color.
It’s why I use simple glazes and combinations so that it can complement your meal, not compete with it.
Rooms Solutions want to say a massive thank you to Dorothy for answering these questions.
Really interesting to hear about getting that balance between functionality and adding to the experience of the meal with the ceramic’s aesthetic.
It’s also important to remember that, not matter what you’re doing, you can always take a step back and experiment.
In this instance it’s with the clay and seeing what funky designs may present themselves but you can only achieve that by letting yourself test things out and see where it leads.
If you would like to see more of Dorothy Domingo’s ceramics then wheel yourself over to her Etsy Store immediately.