>Artisans to note
January 31, 2008 § 4 Comments
>I have a crazy affinity for teapots. I began a collection some time ago but never took it too seriously. Truthfully, I don’t have room to take any collection too seriously. My sister on the other hand…really, some day I’m going to devote blog entries for an entire month to my sisters varied and growing collections. But back to teapots. I was prowling the pages of Etsy trying to decide what to get my Mom for Christmas and I came across this fabulous hand thrown teapot:
Long since sold..as well it should be. But I keep haunting this potters site to see what I can see and there is usually something new and wonderful to behold. The shop is ‘MudStuffing’ and the artist is Keith Phillips who it turns out not only throws wicked tea pots but could, if he wanted to, sew up the tea cosy as well.
He agreed to be a feature here on ‘Fire and Glass’ ..Thanks Keith!
When and how did you first become interested in being a potter?
I started helping a friend in their ceramic studio. I was mainly loading and firing the kiln, but also experimented working with clay. She sold me her old kiln for $300 and I started making stuff at home.
Your beautiful paintings/reproductions also show the love of color and lines that you see in your clay work. What came first… the painting or the pottery? I was an art major in school but not for pottery. I majored in printmaking, so drawing and painting came first. In fact I tend to sketch out pottery forms first. What I am really drawn to is form, organic textures and colors. I find if the form has great lines and shape, the glaze will take care of itself. It’s the unexpected bits that give me most joy.
What are your biggest obstacles regarding your art and what have you done to overcome them (it). Time. I am currently working on making some handmade time. Once I’ve perfected the process I intend to sell it on Etsy. Seriously, I am very protective over my time in the studio. It’s important to me to be working every day to keep creative. If I don’t, I get stagnant and it takes a few days to get back in the groove.
What is it that you enjoy most about the process? The entire process itself is what I like. There’s not really any part I don’t enjoy accept cleaning up.
It can be difficult to work at home. Do you have a separate studio that you can go to or do you designate part of your home to your work. Yes it can be difficult! I used to have a little 6’x6′ back mud room where I had a wheel, kiln and it was awful, people coming and going and interrupting. We now own our own home (finally!) and I have a huge seperate 4 car garage that I work in. It’s a dream.
Do you schedule your day?…tell us about that. If Gina (wife) is home that day, I like having coffee with her and talking about ideas and stuff before getting to work. I’m most creative in the mornings so I focus on what I can early on. Most days I throw first thing. I hand wedge all my clay that I’ll be throwing, then I’ll sit and throw pots for a few hours. Next I’ll trim what I threw the day before. By that time creative juices are gone and I’ll photograph, list, make call, marketing, business stuff etc.
You mentioned that you’re a sketch book person and draw your designs out first. Are you a fan of ‘happy accidents’ or do you strive for an exact replica of your drawn out design.
I would love to be skillful at making “happy accidents”. They are the best! Usually my pieces that are well “planned” don’t turn out as planned. So I have come to accept that and make sure that I am flexible.
Is there anything else about yourself or your work that you feel you would like us to know? I love finding out how people are creative in other fields besides art. I love learning about engineers, scientists, teachers, business owners, etc, who took a chance on doing something wrong or different just for the sake of creative something new.
I’m also obsessed with old classic sailboats.
Feel free to pop over and take a look at more of Keith Phillips work at MudStuffing Porcelain Pottery
and remember that tea cosy I was talking about?