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Artist Spotlight: Studio Arhoj

POSTED BY: KAYLA CONYER

With their line of unique and colorful glazes, Studio Arhoj ceramics always bring a special pop to the shop. From signature slurp cups to one-of-a-kind objects, each piece feels extra special as it's nestled in your hand or your home. Studio Arhoj (pronounced Ahh-hoi) is the creation of Anders Arhoj, a Scandinavian ceramicist with an eye for minimalist design and Japanese culture. We were curious about how Studio Arhoj formed, how they come up with such beautiful glazes, and what it's like running a small business with such high demand. 

KC: For people not familiar with your brand, how would you describe the Studio Arhoj style?

AH: Scandinavian playfulness, Japanese inspired lines and shapes - and never too serious, ha!



KC: You used to study interior design and then graphic design before making the jump to ceramics. What led to your interest in ceramics and how did you learn to throw, fire, and glaze?

AH: When I was living in Japan and studying the country’s language at school I started to build an interest in traditional Japanese crafts and hand-thrown ceramics. I loved the rustic surfaces and more honest approach to the materials used. So when I moved home to Copenhagen, Denmark I started to hang out and collaborate with different artist and ceramic friends and do different projects just for fun in order to explore my designs in other materials. I was tired of working in front of a screen - digging my hands into clay and seeing the opportunities it can yield was exciting. So I started to buy books, take some evening courses and learn from my friends. But most of all just explore and play.

KC: Studio Arhoj is based in Copenhagen, Denmark, but seems to have close ties to Japanese culture - as with your Tokyo Series. How does Scandinavian and Japanese culture influence your designs?

AH: 2017 was actually the official 150 year anniversary of Danish-Japanese diplomacy. Our countries have a long history of cultural exchange, especially in arts and design. We share common aesthetic ground in a love for clean lines, a democratic design using natural materials such as clay, wood, rocks, straw, etc, etc. A lot of mid-century furniture designers from Denmark are still the hottest item in Japan! Personally, I love Japanese pop culture - I feel it’s quite emotional and nostalgic and full of weird humor and story writing that is strange and unknown to a Westerner. I love the contrast between odd pop character design and old crafts and rustic ceramics. And the respect and very hard work you observe in the Japanese ceramic and potter tradition.



KC: The Familia series consists of small figurines in various shapes with the human feature of eyes. How did Japanese Shinto ghosts/spirits come to be an inspiration for the Familia series?

AH: The Japanese Shinto religion believes everything around you is spirited; an old tree, a rock in the river bed etc. When taking a walk in the forest I sometimes have a feeling that reminds me of this belief - that the trees are ancient creatures and every flower in the field has a soul. And so as a character designer by trade and lover of odd vintage paraphernalia I was inspired to blow life into small lumps of clay. I love painting eyes on stuff and see it come alive. And with 12+ different shapes and a gazillion variations in color, glaze, and texture each little Familia character is unique and actually has a soul, I believe.



KC: With over 200 stockists around the world, I envision Studio Arhoj being a large scale operation, yet you only have 12 employees. How do you manage to keep up with the demand while remaining creative?


AH: Yeah, we try to run fast without breaking too much stuff. We honor being organized, do forecasting, thinking many months ahead and trying to keep all cogs in the machine well oiled. I visit museums on my days off or take long walks. Usually, the fun ideas aren’t a product of a team brainstorm but instead something that just enters your mind while in you’re in the supermarket line.
 But yes, you have to keep an eye on everything every day to avoid mistakes, exploding kilns, and bottlenecks in the production. I think the creativity and the fun ideas are the fuel that runs the company deep underneath it all though. Doing something else than sitting behind a desk all day long. And create beautiful objects with our hands every day.

KC: Knowing that you have 12 employees, I’m curious to know what is your own personal day to day like at the studio? What roles do you play in your company?

AH: Yes, it can be a little energy consuming sometimes actually, haha. Being a CEO, an HR person, accountant, advertising agent, purchasing dude, creative director, clay craftsman, kiln technician, glaze chemist, business strategist, packshot photographer, online webshop programmer, inspiring boss and more can be a little hard sometimes. And those are just my own daily roles in the company. But that’s just how it has to be.

A normal day starts at 7.30-8.00 am when I come into the studio, air out the rooms, prepare the kilns for emptying. Then I check in with the team when they come in at 09.00 to see how the kiln fires went and the result of our work. We discuss experiments and quality. Then I might have some management meetings in the office (daily tasks, strategy, new projects etc) and reply to some emails. At 12.30 we all stop for lunch for half an hour. Afternoons I often spend in the studio maybe sculpting some stuff, shooting pics for Instagram, customer meetings, meetings with the design team and so on. My day stops around 6-7 pm and I bike home and go to bed early as I suffer from insomnia so need to get as many hours of sleep as possible.

I work in average 12 hours each day including weekends as 12 employees in Denmark is expensive - we need to keep the machine running. But that’s how it is in ceramics. We all work super hard and rarely ever make big bucks, ha!




KC: One thing I really enjoy about your pieces is the bright and unusual glazes that encompass each final piece. I know from my own personal experience with ceramics that glazes can often be unpredictable. Do you have someone dedicated to creating and testing new glazes? Do you create your own glaze recipes?

AH: Thank you! Yes, in our design team we have at least 1-2 nerds who like to experiment and develop new stuff. But experimenting has just always been part of the DNA of the company, so everyone joins in if they have a good idea to try something new. We often experience kiln disasters, exploding items or running glazes that just didn’t work out.

KC: Have any of your glaze combinations been a result of happy accidents?

AH: Yes, very often actually. Predicting is hard, even for the most experienced glaze chemist. So we work in the dark a lot. A recipe is not just a recipe. The final look also depends on the components in the clay/porcelain material, the heat work (amount of time the firing schedule takes), temperature and cooling schedules and much more.



KC: Are you currently working on any new projects or excited about any future plans?

AH: Yes, always! We usually have some new stuff in the pipeline because we can’t help ourselves. I am a very impatient designer, I move at a fast pace in order not to get bored.

We are currently doing a mural for Facebook for their new Danish data center consisting of 606 Pearls each individually glazed and unique. And also a new bunch of items for the SS19 season. I also finished the follow-up to FIND ME, a children’s book for San Francisc-based Chronicle Books which will be out on March 1st 2019.

 

You can purchase Studio Arhoj ceramics at both of our brick and mortar locations on Divisadero and in Noe Valley.

Artist Spotlight: Kelly Carámbula

POSTED BY: KAYLA CONYER

 Kelly Carámbula in her SF studio.

Balance is something we all struggle with. Between work, family, and other commitments, taking time to ourselves can easily come in last. With two small children, artist Kelly Carámbula is no stranger to navigating motherhood, work, and staying creative. Based in San Francisco, Kelly’s beautiful collage work teeters between the simple and the complex. Her new show, A Year of Color & Form, features work she’s created over the past year that leaves the viewer with a deeper appreciation for looking closer, longer, and from a different perspective. Kelly sat down with Kayla and Giselle to talk about how she balances motherhood, running her own business, and what projects she has in store for the future. 

 

Kayla: You earned your BFA in graphic design from Western Michigan University. Although your work is not digital these days, I can tell from your use of simplistic forms and clean lines that graphic design has influenced your style. How did you make the transition from digital to traditional media?

Kelly Carámbula: From a young age, I’ve always loved making things with my hands. Growing up, I would paint my mom’s Avon boxes and old furniture she’d pick up at garage sales–plus I sewed and dabbled in other crafts, so I feel like using my hands to make things is part of my DNA. It wasn’t until I was a sophomore in college that I realized that I could actually use my love of creating art and make a career out of it via graphic design. So I switched to digital media and worked solely on the computer for over 10 years. 


I slowly began doing less design after having kids until it became too much of a drag–I felt like every time I opened my computer it was only to answer emails. To be honest–I was overwhelmed by life as a mother and I needed a creative outlet that required very little initial effort. Enter collage.

 


Various collage pieces by Kelly.

Kayla: What does it mean to you to be creative? How do you stay motivated despite having other obligations and roles you play in your life? For so many creatives, I think it’s hard to carve out time to explore all the ideas we have, and thus, we end up doing nothing at all and becoming discouraged.

KC: To me–especially over the past couple of years–my creativity is a necessity. When I don’t get time to make, to explore ideas, I feel it in my mind and my body. So I’m very intentional with my time and make sure that I carve out time every day to make something or see art or read. It took a lot of work on my end to get to this point where I feel strong enough to say that and stand up for my needs as an artist and mother. But luckily I have a very supportive husband who understands how important this is.

 

Kelly Carámbula in her SF studio (left), Paper collage piece (right)

Giselle: How are you juggling your art practice and motherhood?

KC: Sometimes I feel like I’m on top of it and good at both and other days I feel like I’m failing–as a mother, as an artist, and sometimes both. I think that’s called motherhood, ha!

After five years as a mother to a special needs child, I’ve finally realized that it’s ok to ask for help and in fact–pile on as much help as I can possibly get. For so long, I felt like I could do it all on my own and that my daughter needed me (specifically) at every appointment she goes to, but I’m letting go of that mindset and I think it’s good for both of us. Mama doesn’t have to do everything. Mama has interests. Mama’s good at things other than being a mama. After having my second child two and a half years ago and hitting a real low creatively–I realized that this is not how I wanted my girls to see me. Instead, I want them to remember me during their childhood as someone who had fun with them but also had her own interests and life. Since then, I’ve made a real effort to be that person.

 

Inside Kelly's studio featuring handmade planters and collages.

Kayla: You used to publish and design Remedy Quarterly, a magazine dedicated to food memories and recipes. How did you get involved in that? Was food photography one of your areas of interest?

KC: I have to say, that feels like a lifetime ago. I started a food blog, eatmakeread.com, after I moved to Brooklyn and realized that being a picky eater wasn’t the way I wanted to live my life. I discovered a passion for food–exploring markets, trying new restaurants, and making new recipes. It was a blast and led to many exciting opportunities, one of them being the creation of my magazine, Remedy Quarterly.

The idea behind Remedy Quarterly was to share cherished recipes–ones that had a story behind them–and to share that connection with our readers. A major inspiration behind both the idea and the form factor was a book my mom made for me. Sadly, she passed away when I was in college, but just before she died, she made me a little book filled with recipes–my favorites, but also her favorites and dishes that were shared at family events. It is one of my most treasured items and when I look at it, I feel connected to her. I think she knew that I would get over my picky phase, but I’m not sure she could’ve ever imagined how much that little book would influence my life.

Once I began the magazine and my partners decided they no longer had time to take it on (this was Issue 2–we had 22 issues), I took on all aspects of the magazine including art direction, design, photography, illustration, shipping, and a bit of writing. It was bonkers and the learning curve was steep. I had a bit of experience with food photography from my blog, but I wanted to make sure that it wasn’t all food photography, so about half of the stories were illustrated rather than photographed. I love, love, love cookbooks from the 50’s and 60’s–many of them include very few photographs and instead include amazing two-color illustrations. Stylistically, I wanted Remedy to feel a bit nostalgic like that rather than the traditional, perfectly styled and photo-centric food magazines.

 

Wheel-thrown pottery by Kelly.

Giselle: In a recent conversation that we had, you mentioned that #100daysofcolorandform became an unintended catalyst for your renewed creative passion that you are currently experiencing. Can you tell us more about what that is, how that project came about, and what it means to you?

KC: The #100dayproject is an amazing idea first introduced by Michael Beirut of Pentagram, but really driven forward by Elle Luna and Lindsay Jean Thomas. Basically, you chose an idea and you work on it for 100 days.

I was in a creative slump–I had two kids (ages 1 and 4) whom I stayed home with, had just designed and renovated our house which took way more out of me than I expected, I no longer felt inspired to create my magazine–which had been my lifeline to any sort of professional life, and just felt lost. A friend posted about the 100 day project and something about it called out to me. So as you may have guessed, I chose #100daysofcolorandform. I wanted to do something open-ended but I was also really interested in collage. I’d dabbled with it a little after having my first child, and I loved how graphic it was but required so little. As soon as I started the project, I felt this burst of creative energy that I hadn’t felt in years. I had ideas! I had thoughts that didn’t involve scheduling or children! And, people were responding positively to my work when I posted it online. It felt incredible and it was then that I saw a path forward.

I started working during my kid's nap time, for something like 15 minutes. But then I just kept taking more and more time–I found little bits of unused time and made art. It was incredible to see and feel the creative growth. I knew that this was the path that I wanted to take–to make things–and for the first time in my adult life, I decided to just do that. To build a creative practice where I made art every day for no reason other than to explore.

 

Various ceramic pieces by Kelly.

Giselle: I was in awe watching you develop your ceramic wheel throwing practice on Instagram. From what I know, you were a beginner when you started at Pinckney Clay Studios, but in what seemed to me like a very fast time, you were throwing awesome looking pots and they started becoming complicated fast. How was that experience for you? Do you think you are a natural?

KC: Thank you! I started taking classes at Pinckney Clay Studios (it’s right next to my daughter’s therapy studio–I think it was meant to be) when she first opened her doors in June 2017. I took a hand building class, then a wheel class (side note, I may have shed a tear after my first wheel class because it seemed too hard) and have been hooked since then. I’m now a member and work in the studio a few afternoons a week.

I love the tangibility of clay and how clearly you can see the process and progress evolve. Clay is not an easy medium–there are so many opportunities for failure (making, firing, glazing, etc), but that’s one thing that I like about it. I can let go of my controlling tendencies and just roll with it. In fact, some of my favorite pieces have come from failures.

As a bonus, I absolutely love having a creative space to go and work and be near other people. I’m pretty self-driven, but I like being in a space where other people are making things and honestly, just getting out of the house.

 

Ceramic pieces by Kelly.

Kayla: What makes you go back and forth from functional clay pieces to abstract clay pieces? How does that mix influence your creativity?

KC: When I started working with clay I primarily made functional pieces. I could look around my house and think “Oh, I’d like a mug” or a flower pot or something to that effect. But there’s only so much of that I can do without getting bored.

About six months into working with clay, I realized that I didn’t want to lock myself into making things to sell. Because of my magazine work and dealing with the retail world, I automatically started thinking in terms of selling my wares and making a line of ceramics that I could sell to shops, but when I stepped back, I realized I actually didn’t want to do that. I wanted to make things for the sake of making things. So once I took that pressure off of myself, it really opened the door to trying non-functional work, like my clay collages, tabletop sculptures, and larger pots. That doesn’t mean that I don’t still make functional pieces, but it frees me up from having to do one thing all the time.

 


At work in her studio.

Kayla: Your collage pieces are often shape and patterned based with colorful layers and textures. When you start a piece, do you often have an end result in mind, or do you allow the piece to direct your next move?

KC: One of the things I love about creating my collage work is that it lets me get out of my head–it’s therapeutic in a way. I rarely go in with a preconceived idea of what I’m going to make. I turn my music on, get my scissors and glue, and roll with it. It’s really an opportunity to let go and follow my intuition. My clay collages allow for additional levels of experimentation where I can incorporate unexpected dimension and hidden perspectives within each piece which provides a challenge that I truly enjoy.

 


Ceramic 3D collage in the works.

Kayla: How would you describe your work to those that have yet to see it?

KC: My work is a study of color and form, using primarily paper and clay (separately). It’s abstract, colorful, geometric, and often incorporates little surprises to keep you on your toes.

Kayla: Are there any particular pieces or projects that you’ve worked on that you feel especially proud of?

KC: Yes, some pieces, like “Launch” (which is what my installation is based on) have deep meaning to me. I use what I call the “launch” shape (it looks a bit like a periscope) in many of my collages because it symbolizes moving up and forward while not always knowing what’s ahead. That specific piece was the last collage I created as part of the “year of color and form”. Seeing it reminds me of all that I’ve done and that I always want to move forward.

I’m also proud of my larger pots. I spent a lot of time sitting at the pottery wheel—failing often— but trying over and over to push myself to make something that brought me joy. There is something magical about pulling something out of the glaze firing and thinking “Wow, I made that”.

 

Kelly Carámbula.

Kayla: Do you have any plans for future projects that you’d like to share?

KC: I’ll be debuting my first large-scale installation at this show, which I’ve been wanting to do for a while now. I’m excited to explore scale and ideally find a space to show more of this type of work in the coming year.

 

Be sure to catch Kelly's show, A Year of Color & Form, opening at Rare Device Divisadero on Friday, September 21st from 6-9 p.m. The show runs through November 5th.

Artist Spotlight: Author and Activist Kate Schatz

POSTED BY: KAYLA CONYER

 

Kate Schatz is a Bay Area writer, activist, and educator. The author of the Rad Women series, which features a mixture of history and feminism aimed at young children, is a personal favorite of the Rare Device staff. Whether you’re young, old, or somewhere in the middle, these books are not just a bedtime story, but rather a historical look into the lives of the courageous women who have challenged and changed history. In a social and political climate that is often unaccepting of women, people of color, LGBTQ-identified folks, immigrants, and those who choose to not conform to societal norms, Kate’s books and outlook on activism are a breath of fresh air. The future is ours for the taking. Let us be informed and inspired by the women who have come before us, and that are living among us, who are using their voices to invoke positive change in a world that doesn’t always feel pretty.

Rad Women Worldwide by Kate Schatz. Photos by Dave Medal.

KC: We carry your books Rad Women Worldwide and Rad American Women A-Z. Both of these books focus on women who have changed the world we live in today for the better. What inspired you to write each book, and how long did you spend researching each woman’s biography?

KS: First, thank you for carrying them! I got the idea for the first book, Rad American Women A-Z, when my daughter was 2 years old (she’s now 9!). As a new(ish) parent I was thinking a lot about what it meant to raise a daughter in this (misogynistic, white supremacist) society, how I would raise and teach and guide her, etc. I was also feeling very uninspired with my own writing practice, which had been mostly short fiction, and was also feeling challenged when it came to activism—this is when Occupy Oakland was happening, and I had major FOMO as I watched people organizing and marching and taking action while I was home with a baby. I’d always wanted to write a children’s book, and one day while she was napping the idea for an A-Z book about badass women from American history popped into my head! It felt like the ideal way to blend these passions/questions/desires/practices—activism, parenting, creating—and I got to work.

As for how long I spend researching the biographies...it varies, and is also pretty hard to answer, because one thing I’ve realized is that I’m kind of always researching—I’m constantly reading and looking and listening and paying attention to stories about women and girls and changemakers and allies and resisters and radical humans.

KC: Books like these feel especially important in our current political and social climate, where the need for female representation in elected positions is dire. Based on your research, who do you feel are the women leading the feminist movement today?

KS: Young women and GNC (gender non-conforming) people of color are leading and redefining and expanding the feminist movement—and it is especially imperative that white feminists like myself listen, learn, and figure out how to move out of the way AND use our privileges/platforms to hold open doors and add seats at the table.

KC: You’re formerly a teacher of 9th - 12th graders. What messages do you hope the younger generation reading your books will take away from them?

KS: That they matter. That they’re part of powerful histories and legacies—and powerful, transformative futures. That change is possible. That education is crucial. That taking chances and risks can really pay off. That believing in the safety, potential, and dignity of yourself and others is essential. And that history and feminism are cool!


Rad Women Worldwide by Kate Schatz. Photo by Dave Medal.

KC: You partnered with local illustrator Miriam Klein Stahl for the artwork in the books. How did you two pair up, and did she play any part in helping compile the list of women for each book?

KS: Miriam and I had a number of mutual friends and I was a big admirer of her artwork. When I had the idea for the first book I wanted illustrations that would compliment the women in the book, that would be bold and powerful and strong. I thought of Miriam’s stunning woodcut portraits of social justice heroes like James Baldwin and Phoolan Devi. I reached out and asked her if she’d be into collaborating and she said yes—it all happened really fast, and five years later we are still collaborating and love working together. I do most of the research but we discuss all of the women and girls we include, and Miriam brings in many great ideas.

Kate Schatz, photo by Meg Perotti

KC: What resources would you give to young adults who have started to examine or reexamine what feminism means to them and how they can apply it to their everyday lives?

KS: SO MANY!

Read this article in Harper’s by writer and scholar Rachel Cargle that clearly and decisively lays out the dangers of toxic white feminism.

Follow social media accounts/online platforms/activists/thinkers that are committed to intersectional feminism. Some of my faves are: Bitch, Wear Your Voice, @guerillafeminism, @femalecollective, @feministabulous, @feministvoice, @feministpress, @rachel.cargle, @mumumansion, @virgietovar, @jamiaawilson, @womensmarch, @muslimgirlsmakingchange, @unladylikemedia, and many more!

Read read read! Some good places to start: Classics like Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center and Feminism is for Everyone by bell hooks; Lies, Secrets and Silence and The Fact of a Doorframe by Adrienne Rich; Women, Race, and Class by Angela Davis; But Some of Us Are Brave by Akasha T. Hull and Barbara Smith; This Bridge Called My Back by Cherrie Moraga and Gloria Anzaldua; Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde…

And contemporary books! We Should All Be Feminists and Dear Ijeawele by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie; The Mother of All Questions and Men Explain Things To Me by Rebecca Solnit; Not That Bad: Dispatches From Rape Culture by Roxane Gay; The Fire This Time edited by Jesmyn Ward; Full Frontal Feminism by Jessica Valenti; Eloquent Rage by Brittany Cooper; This Will Be My Undoing by Morgan Jerkins; and, an absolute necessity for white women, in particular, is White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People to Talk about Racism by Robin D’Angelo.

Listen to podcasts! Like: Divided States of Women; Call Your Girlfriend; Nerdette; Stuff Mom Never Told You; The History Chicks; 2 Dope Queens; MomRage; Popaganda; and more!

That is JUST the tip of the iceberg, but it’s a decent start—remain open, make connections, and let these books/accounts/etc lead you to other thinkers and artists and changemakers.

Finally: If you’re in college, TAKE A WOMEN’S STUDIES CLASS! Or even better: become a Women’s Studies major!

 

You can purchase Rad Women Worldwide and Rad American Women A-Z at both of our brick and mortar locations on Divisadero and in Noe Valley. 

Artist Spotlight: Viviana of Mud Witch Ceramics

POSTED BY: KAYLA CONYER

Various speckled mugs by Mudwitch

If there is one thing this chilly San Francisco summer could use, it’s a cup of warm tea. Enter Mud Witch, a new line of ceramic mugs by local Japanese/Mexican artist Viviana Matsuda, which are carried at both our Divisadero and Noe Valley locations. Viviana’s mugs embrace their unique shapes and curvature, which allow your hand to nestle in just the right spot. The daughter of a potter, and a longtime dabbler in various artistic mediums, Viviana is creating pieces that explore our relationship with the earth's natural elements.

KC: You got your start in ceramics as a way to cope with the passing of your father, who was a ceramist himself. Did you ever think of yourself as a creative person in any medium prior to that?

VM: Yes, when I was little my dad actually nicknamed me “the creator” because I was always making something. I come from a very creative family. My grandma on my Japanese side worked as a seamstress and was always super crafty. Every summer we would visit her in Seattle for a couple of weeks and she would teach me origami and other Japanese crafts. Then we would come back every fall and I would spend time showing my friends the origami balloon I learned how to make or a box shaped like a flower. Growing older I stayed crafty. The goal was to learn how to make everything. I dabbled in sewing, incense making, upholstery, natural dying and more. I just really enjoy making things with my hands and using my designer eye to make things very "Vivi".

Viviana (left), Earthenware pots in the wild (right)

KC: Coming up with a name for a business is often much harder than creating the products themselves! Where did the name Mud Witch originate?

VM: I wanted a name that described the feeling of forming pieces out of the earth. As I learned to throw I realized that working with clay is a relationship. You can't push it into doing anything it doesn't want to do, you need to compromise with it and give it respect. All clays are different and they all have their own personalities.

Once I learned to properly respect the clay, throwing became like magic. I threw all sorts of curvy bottles and bulbous shapes while testing the limits. After a pretty productive semester, all that learning led to a ton of pots filling my house. So I sat down in my kitchen, looked at my pots and tried to think of a name. Looking at all the speckled and sandy spots in some of my pieces, I felt very grateful that I could have the opportunity to create something out of the earth. "How witchy," I said to myself. Then MUD WITCH came to be.

Photo by Shaine Drake.

KC: How long have you been creating and when did you decide to turn what was originally a therapeutic hobby into a business?

VM: I've been doing ceramics since 2016, but I have been around it all my life. Towards the end of 2016, Voldemort, I mean what's his face, became president and since I was using ceramics to de-stress, well let's just say it was an extremely productive semester. After running out of storage I thought I should start selling them. Imagining my craft as a career was always a dream. There's nothing like running your own business. When I work hard I work for me, and I love it.

KC: Pottery is such a difficult skill to master as many elements go into the process from throwing, to firing, to never quite knowing how glazes will turn out until the end. Do you find that the process hinders your creative ability at all, or do you enjoy the uncertainty of it?

VM: Man, pottery really relays some of life's messages. You can work really hard at something and it can turn out like trash. You just gotta love it how it is or move on. Glazing reminds me of the saying "in life there no guarantees. You just do what you can and hope for the best.” It's fine for me because I'm a very laid back, learn to love the flaws kinda lady, however, it's a whole other world when you're making things for other people.

KC: Your creations often have an earthy natural feel to them. What things inspire the form, color, and texture of your pieces?

VM: I enjoy the natural texture and color of the clay. We have all interacted with these colors and textures before as children and for me seeing the sand and grog triggers positive memories of childhood. I remember playing with sand at the beach with my family or visiting my relatives in Mexico and being enamored by all the red clay pottery

As for form, people inspire my pieces, more specifically the body positive movement that is happening right now. My pots are chubby, tall, cute, brown, black, tan, freckled and beautiful in their diversity.

KC: Where do you go to get re-invigorated and inspired?

VM: You're gonna laugh, but usually, I go to the produce market. The produce section is like sensory overload. The shapes, colors, and textures that nature makes always amazes me. Green striped lemons that are pink on the inside, how kooky! Heirloom tomatoes... are you from space? Romanescco, you are so complex and beautiful. It’s like visiting an art museum for me.

Photos by Dave Medal

KC: You mainly create beautiful mugs and planters. Are there any future projects you’re working on that you’re excited about?

VM: I'm really excited about doing more sculptural pieces and maybe some hand building, I’m also doing some exciting collaborations with other artists this fall and winter. 

You can find Mud Witch products for sale at both our brick and mortar stores on Divisadero or in Noe Valley, as well as online.  

Funky Real Estate by Brian Barneclo: Opening Reception

POSTED BY: KAYLA CONYER

The latest solo show by San Francisco artist Brian Barneclo, Funky Real Estate, is now up in the #RDDivis gallery. The show features 29 unique pieces that have been arranged in our gallery to mimic one of Brian’s large-scale murals. Created on 12” x 12” panels of wood, each piece has been individually painted and stained to create a larger picture.

Check out some pictures from the opening reception below:

Contemplation (left), Untitled #9 (right)

Brian Barneclo

Untitled #4 (left), A fan checks out the show (right)

Brian poses with friends

You can find all of the artwork from Funky Real Estate on display at Rare Device Divisadero now through September 17th and online. All photographs by Giselle Gyalzen.