You’re going to love the geometric patterns on the Feldi Studios handmade pottery mugs that you’re about to see.
They’re brilliant and their uniqueness will look fantastic in a lot of homes.
Melissa talks about how she got started with ceramics and the process she takes to create such great products.
You’re going to love this one…
First Name: Melissa
Location: Boulder, CO
Shop: Etsy Store
What made you first get into ceramics and pottery?
I studied fine art at NYU.
The curriculum included a required sculpture studio during Freshman year.
The sculpture studio was in a dark dank basement and I was placed in a class with a mean-spirited, sexist professor.
I hated that class so much.
Going down to the basement several times per week filled me with dread.
After my pants caught on fire during a welding assignment, I decided I was done.
I went to my advisor and told her I was miserable and that I would change majors if I needed to continue the class in order to finish my degree.
She promptly switched me into a ceramics class as a replacement.
Joining the ceramics studio was like a dream come true.
I was lucky to have a brilliant ceramic artist as my professor, Judith S. Schwartz, who welcomed me into her class and introduced me to the wonderful world of clay.
Immediately, I fell in love with the medium.
I’d stay in the studio working for hours on end, losing track of time, until the building maintenance staff came in to close shop for the night.
I made a point of taking a second ceramics studio later in my college career where I threw on the wheel for the first time and I was hooked.
After graduating, I found it impossible to afford to continue working with ceramics in NYC.
I was short on both time and income.
But I always dreamt of leaving the city and building a studio at home.
Years later, after I finished my masters degree, I moved to Boulder, CO in hopes of a more balanced, slower lifestyle.
As soon as I was settled, I found a local pottery studio and signed up for classes.
My local studio is an amazing community and brought me back in touch with clay.
I was lucky to meet an incredible teacher who has taught me so much about functional ceramic ware.
I recently set up my very first home studio which has been a game changer in my ceramic practice.
The ability to sit down and work whenever I want and for however long I want has allowed me to develop ideas that have been brewing since I started playing with clay again.
How would you describe your process for creating your pottery?
I once heard a story about a ceramics teacher who divided his class into two groups.
He told group one to make as much work as possible, to not worry about quality – just focus on quantity.
Group two was instructed to make one perfect form, to focus only on quality and definitely not quantity.
In the end, the quantity group (group one) had significantly better and higher quality work than the ‘perfect form’ group (group two).
I try to follow the group one method in my own work.
I make a lot of work.
If one piece is not perfect, oh well!
I can use it to test a new glaze technique and/or give it to my mom.
A lot of my work does not end up in my online shop because it is imperfect and that is OK, because I learned something in the process of making it.
Clay is pretty cheap so each pot is a low financial and emotional investment.
The volume of work I develop creates a low-stakes mental framework.
I am not putting any pressure on myself to make any individual piece perfect so I can take risks and try new things without fear of failure.
The ability to have many works in progress at once is one of the things I love most about pottery.
What motivates you to keep making your products?
Making something beautiful with my hands feels like a superpower, and I get high off sharing that with my friends, family and customers.
I am extremely motivated by that feeling. There is also an element of anticipation and excitement in the ceramic process.
Pottery transforms in the kiln and, while you may have a good idea of what it will look like in the end, it is such a significant change that it feels like a big surprise and delight to see the end result.
There are so many steps in creating pottery and they take place over several weeks, so the finished product is always super gratifying.
It is a joyful practice, and I suggest it to everyone as a hobby. I have yet to meet anyone who has not loved their first pottery class!
Do you ever get stuck or blocked creatively? How do you get past this?
I find that there is a myth about creativity, that it is a strike of lightning that hits an artist and suddenly, they are inspired.
This is not my experience.
Making art and creativity are practices.
It is something to be worked on on a regular basis, similar to athletic training.
As long as I am working on my practice regularly, the creativity flows naturally.
I certainly have experienced times when I have been out of practice creatively and starting again feels overwhelming.
Whenever this happens, I lower the stakes mentally and emotionally of the work I hope to create.
I start with small pieces and put zero pressure on myself to make anything great.
This is a time to make things for the sake of making them and to see where it takes you.
Once I am back in my practice and creative flow, bigger ideas start to develop and I regain my creative confidence.
What is beautiful pottery to you?
Beautiful pottery is something that brings joy when used.
It is the mug or bowl or plate that you always go for, that is prefered to the rest, and that is in constant use.
I swear, coffee tastes better out of my favorite mug. Food is more delicious on my favorite plate.
That feeling is my goal in making pottery, to bring joy to my friends and family, and to anyone else who purchases my work online.
That was brilliant, Rooms Solutions want to say thank you to Melissa for such great insight into how she works.
It’s reassuring to hear that creativity should be viewed as a process and not as something you should wait around for.
Also, fascinating that the hard working group produced the best work compared to the ‘perfect’ form group so let’s make sure we work hard all the time!
If you’d like to see more of Melissa’s work then you can find it on her Etsy Store.