i. I work as a ceramic artist/designer
ii. I do this creative work because:
I find meaning in it. It keeps on working out that I can do it and make a living from it. I count that as a real privilege and so I keep moving forward.
iii. Personal qualities that help me in my work are:
Resilient, industrious, innovative and optimistic.
iv. The greatest challenges around doing this work are:
The path that my career has taken me isn’t particularly well-worn so I don’t really have a good mentor to bounce ideas off of. Also, there’s not a lot of financial security in it and it can sometimes be a little lonesome working in a private studio
v. Creative childhood hobbies:
I grew up without TV and so I feel like most of what we did was pretty creative and inventive. I did lots of cooking, sewing and knitted a tonne; I even made a couple of my own sweater patterns. I was also really good at making those title pages in elementary school.
vi. Other creators who inspire you:
Hella Jongerius, Joni Mitchell and Betty Woodman.
vii. Training that has helped me succeed in this career:
I did a BFA at Alberta College of Art and Design with a major in ceramics. I’ve always been quite entrepreneurial; I started making jewellery and selling it while I was in art school. By the time I graduated, I was selling in quite a few stores. I ended up learning a lot of the business aspects of the job by doing this, and it made the transition from school to working full-time as an artist much easier.
viii. A common trap that can hurt people in this career:
I think now more than ever (in large part because of social media) it’s easy for artists to see that what someone is doing is successful and emulating it rather than taking the time to develop skill and find their own voice.
ix. Some proud career moments:
WL Designer of the Year (Maker Category) 2016. In 2018, I did twenty-one design projects for Anthropologie. Because I was their biggest investment in terms of artist collaborations, they sent a film crew from New York and Philadelphia to where we live (in Yarrow) to do a short film on our life/work. They were great and my kids thought it was pretty fun.
x. If you want to work in my field, I suggest that you:
Develop a thick skin. If you choose to do this, you won’t be doing it for the money so get creative about how to live with less. Also, have a few different irons in the fire at all times. I have several lines of work – dishes and jewellery, I teach workshops, and do collaborations with other artists. Also, once you’re a few years in, outsource what you can. I have an assistant that does any of the parts of the job that don’t require my own individual touch.
xi. A professional goal I have for the future.
There’s a couple.. I’d like to do more design work. I really enjoy working with clients and other artists, mostly the challenge of working within someone else’s parameters. Also, in the past couple of years , I’ve been researching local clay. I’ve been making prototypes with clay from the Chilliwack River near my home studio. I’d like to process the clay, make work and have a retail store all near the source where the clay is harvested.
Header, Photos 1, 2, 4, 5 : Cathy Terepocki
Photo 3: Antony Crook
Photo 6: Sharalee Prang Photography