I first met Shawna Pincus of Pinkkiss Pottery several years ago at an indie craft show we both participated in down in Richmond, VA. Since then, Shawna and I have participated in at least 1/2 a dozen shows together and at each one I’ve drooled over her lovely ceramic wares. Shawna’s goods are so beautiful and well made that it is difficult to stand over a table of them and not what to buy them all up. I did buy a mug this past June, sadly it broke, but it was perfect. Cute, the prefect weight and with a good handle…I’m really picky about my coffee mugs…I will buying another mug at the Holiday Heap, which we will both be particiapiting in on November 15th in Baltimore.
If you live around Baltimore, you should definitely come out to say hi to both Shawna and me, but in the meantime you all can read my interview with Shawna for thie week’s Wednesday Indie Artist Fixx . Also visit her website to see more of her work as well as her Etsy shop.
1. What’s the name of your business, what do create and sell and how did you get your start?
My name is Shawna Pincus and my business is Pinkkiss Pottery. I make hand built and thrown ceramic wares with a modern/vintage feel. I started making ceramics 10 years ago as an undergrad at MICA. Once I graduated, I was left without a kiln, wheel or any way to make my pots. My husband (before we were married) bought me a wheel, which I set up in my one bedroom apartment in Bolton Hill and threw the same lump of clay over and over again. I still didn’t have a kiln, so I would just smush up my pot and throw something else. When we moved to a row house in Hampden, my mom found me a kiln someone was selling for $150! They rented a UHaul and lugged that thing down to me. I couldn’t set it up, since we were renting and didn’t have the electric set up, so it sat in the basement for 2 years before we finally bought a house in Hamilton. Then we got the house rewired for the kiln, plugged it in and found out it didn’t work! I worked 3 jobs one summer to pay for my (brand new programmable) L&L kiln I have now. It was totally worth it! I have had the kiln for a little more than a year and have been making pots like crazy ever since.
2. What’s better…all the money you could want or all the free time you need?
That is so hard. I would like the money, but only so I could quit my day job and work on my art full time without having to worry about health insurance. I really don’t need a lot of it, but enough to take some stress off of my family and me would be fabulous!
3. What are your inspirations in your art and in life?
Life: My mom. I can’t even begin to list all the ways she inspires me. My husband. He stands beside me no matter what and encourages me to follow my dreams.
Art: Necessity, design, things that are old and well loved, food, vintage kitchen wares, other artists, the architecture here in Baltimore and the people I have met. I also love design and am a magazine addict.
4. Is your home messy or organized? Which one do you think is ideal and why?
Ha-ha! My home always starts as organized and then life takes over and it gets super messy. Then, I can’t stand it anymore and we clean like crazy. Then, it gets messy all over again. It’s a cycle in my house that we vow to break every time we clean up and see our lovely wood floors again. Perhaps when I have that endless supply of money, I could hire a cleaning service.
5. What three things can’t you live without?
My husband, my mom and my coffee.
6. What blogs and mags do you read and what shops do you shop at?
I love anything with good pictures. I am a great reader and have always enjoyed sitting down with a good book, but lately I just don’t have the time and when I do finally sit down, I totally pass out.
Magazines: Domino, Lucky, Readymade, Cooking Light, Food Everyday (love this one!), Ceramics Monthly, anything Martha Stewart. I know there are more that I can’t think of right now.
Stores: I am a big fan of local places like Red Tree Baltimore (my absolute favorite! It’s worth the trip to Baltimore) and Double Dutch in Hampden. I love to wander around Anthropologie and spend time looking through their displays, but I hardly ever purchase anything there. I do a lot of my actual shopping online and through Etsy. I also get a huge thrill from Whole Foods (I know, I’m a total dork) and the farmers market.
7. Do you like to cook? If so, what’s your favorite recipe?
I LOVE to cook. Let’s face it, I make art that celebrates and revolves around food. I also include an old-fashioned cookie recipe on the back of my business card in the hopes that people will hold onto it. Maybe someday I will collect my recipes into a Pinkkiss Cookbook! Here is my mom’s recipe for the best cranberry sauce, ’tis the season right?
The Best Cranberry Sauce:
1 big box of red Jell-O
2 cans of whole cranberry sauce
1 can of pineapple tidbits
1 can of mandarin orange slices
1 cup of chopped walnuts (I sometimes add more)
Make the Jell-O according to package instructions, only adding ½ the total liquid (omit the cold water) Add the cranberry sauce. Drain the fruit and add it to the cranberries along with the walnuts. Stir and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
8. What does indie mean to you? You can give a literal definition, choose to be a little esoteric or a combination of both. 😉
I think of indie as a way of life. I sort of feel like a “hippie” of this generation, if we are talking politics. I think it’s a revolution of it’s own kind. We are looking at our way of life and trying to change for the better. Indie is taking a step back, in a way, to when we depended more on local farmers and neighborhood shops and less on big box stores. I’m not saying that I don’t shop at those stores too, but I think indie makes you more aware of where and how you are spending your money. It’s less about quantity and more about quality. I also think that the indie craft world has been doing a great job of making fine art more accessible to the everyday person. Just check out your local craft shows and you’ll see what I mean. Artists have been making an effort to create affordable versions of their work and it’s letting them make a living on top of giving them more exposure.
9. What are you reading, watching and listening to?
I am a CSI junkie. I turn on the TV for background noise while I’m in the studio and CSI is one of those shows that play for hours and hours, so I don’t have to get up and change the station. We just canceled our cable, so we watch shows by way of Netflix. I love Dexter, Rescue Me, Battlestar Galactica, Heroes, Lost and of course shows like Project Runway and anything on the Food Network. I’m also a sucker for superhero movies and Harry Potter.
I have a very long car ride to my day job, so that’s when I listen to music. Right now I’m into the Shins, Granddaddy, Death Cab for Cutie, Rilo Kiley, Regina Spector and Wilco.
As far as reading, right now I am trying to learn more about glaze calculation, so I’m reading a bunch of technical ceramics books. I am also trudging through a business for dummies book trying to organize some of the paperwork parts of my studio. I am always reading a cookbook of some kind. My favorites for a while have been the Everyday Food book and the Martha Stewart Cookie Book.
10. What’s one thing you’ve learned as an adult that you wish you knew when you were a kid?
This is a tough one for me. I had a really great childhood and I can’t complain as an adult. I don’t think I would have done anything different. I guess if I had to say something it would be that dreams really can come true, they just take a lot of work!
11. What’s new? Any new plans or products that you want to share?
I have a holiday special in my Etsy shop right now and until Christmas—with every purchase over $30, I will send you a special holiday ornament for FREE! Normally, they are $10. I also have many shows coming up for the holidays, so be sure to check my website for a show near you and come say hello! I am taking part in the Baltimore Clayworks Winterfest this year and that is a fantastic show to check out, so many talented potters!
You can look for me in the December issue of Baltimore Magazine, Michael and I just finished an interview for them.
I am up for a Baker Artist Award, so if you would like to go vote for me I would totally appreciate it!
In the studio, I have been cooking up some new shapes and designs that I’m really excited about, I will have lots of them for sale at the craft shows and some on my Etsy site.