April 20, 2009

Etsy Monday - Krystal Speck

This week's featured Etsy seller is Krystal Speck, who makes beautiful (and functional) ceramics. I love seeing the everyday things we use in life elevated to the realm of art, and I was struck by Krystal's design aesthetic the moment I found her shop.

Flower Folk - large square vase

I love the cheerful simplicity of Krystal's designs, and I think the clean, fresh look of her photography compliments her work beautifully! I found her interview to be an engrossing and inspiring read and I'm so glad she took the time to give us an inside look at her work and her process. Here's what she had to say:

1. When did you realize that you wanted to be an artist/artisan?

I've been doing crafty stuff since I was little. My mom is an artist, so she was very encouraging when it came to pursuing a career in the arts. I guess it was a natural progression for me.

2. How long have you been working with your medium and what first sparked your interest in it?

I started working with clay in high school, but did not actually consider ceramics as a full-time pursuit until my second year at university. At school I tried my best to do my own double major in Textiles and Ceramics...but now ceramics seems to have taken over my life! Happily I've found many similarities between ceramic and textile design. I love decorating clay surfaces and often find the best inspiration from vintage textile prints.

3. What do you find most enjoyable/rewarding about your art/craft?

Seeing people using my pots is really rewarding. After being in the studio for weeks and producing like a madwoman, it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling to see the people buying my work and taking it home to become part of their daily lives. I also love meeting other artisans and craft enthusiasts at shows. I just wrapped up the Spring One of a Kind Show in Toronto, and the highlight was meeting all the lovely folks around me. I love the craft community in my city, it's very welcoming and inspiring.

4. Where do you find inspiration for your art/craft?

Oh, everywhere! I do a lot of sketching, hoarding scraps of beautiful old printed textiles and collecting of thrifted ceramic cups and vases. I love mid-century Scandinavian and German clay forms and glazes. And overwhelmingly, I find inspiration in the shapes of plants and flowers.

5. What message or values do you wish to convey with your art? What does your art say to the world?

I hope that my work makes people excited to use their ceramics! I try to make things that are simple and very functional, but also graphic, colourful and fun. I've never really believed in that old rule, that some ceramics are too fancy to use and should only be displayed. Plus, since money is tight for most people these days, when we buy something for our homes we're searching for things that are both beautiful and utilitarian.

6. Are there any other creative outlets that you use to express yourself? What are they and what do you enjoy about them?

I love to draw. Before I start making a new model I have to sketch first, and I'm always doodling flowers or patterns for new glaze designs. I'm also addicted to blogging and would encourage all makers to start their own blog as well. It's an amazing tool to showcase your art, craft sales and contacts, and it's free! When I have the time I like to sew, and when I have the space (sometimes hard to find in the city!) I love gardening and growing my own vegetables.

7. Do you have any advice for other artists/artisans

I suppose the best advice I can give is just to keep trying, work as hard as you can and you'll find an audience who appreciates your work. I've had people tell me I'm crazy for pursuing an artistic career, especially in recession, but the thing is I couldn't do anything else! I just have to make. Also, make as many contacts with local crafty types and share your knowledge and resources. That might be an obvious one, but being part of a community is so important -- especially if you create your work solo like I do. It reminds you that there are many other artists and craftspeople out there going through the same ups and downs that you are.


In closing...

Where else can we find you and your work, either on the internet or in person? (ie blog url, flickr, facebook, etc)

In Toronto: 1910 Danforth Clay Studio, RedSable Gallery
In Waterloo: Canadian Clay & Glass Gallery Shop

Any other websites or resources you’d like to recommend (not just to other artists)?

I highly recommend: (gardening) (pastry)

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Val said...

I love the simple charm of Krystal's work. It's a little folksy, it's functional, but most of all it is appealing. Nice post.