I’ve long admired Tasha McKelvey’s pottery work, so it only makes sense that I finally got around to interviewing her for Wednesday Indie Artist Fixx. You may already be familiar with Tasha’s bird bowls or gingko jewelry, but now it’s time to learn more about the artist behind the potter’s wheel. 😉
1. What’s the name of your business, what do create and sell and how did you get your start?
Tasha McKelvey – handmade clay goodness and I make handmade pottery featuring woodland themes like birds, faux bois, mushrooms and leaves. I also make ceramic jewelry with the same sort of aesthetic – flowers, ginkgo leaves and birds.
The business name used to be Pottery by Tasha McKelvey, but a few years ago I dropped the “Pottery by” part. I had started making ceramic jewelry in addition to pottery. I changed the name to reflect the change in how I saw my myself as an artist, no longer just a potter but also a designer.
I always knew I wanted to be an artist, but as a kid I figured I would have to be an art teacher to support myself. In high school, I started working as a potter’s assistant at The Poddery (www.thepoddery.com) in Mathews, Virginia. I learned the basics of making pottery while working on someone else’s pots. When I went to college and took my first Ceramics class at the beginning of my Sophomore year, I knew with in a week I wanted to make pottery for a living. I started my business and vending at craft shows the Summer before my Senior year.
2. Share some of your inspirations.
I draw my inspiration from my experiences. I grew up surrounded by handmade objects – my family ate all our meals from wooden bowls when I was a kid. My parents are avid bird watchers and gardeners. My first experience working in a pottery at 16 years old, was working alongside two potters visiting from Japan. All of this mixed together to form my work – flowers, birds, ginkgo leaves on functional pots & jewelry.
3. What do you like to listen to while you create?
This American Life podcasts, Harry Potter Audio Books and my iPod mix, which right now is heavy on Sun Volt, The Flaming Lips, Mates of State and Belle & Sebastian.
4. What would the perfect day involve?
It would take place in Europe, involve fresh baked goods, cheeses, beer and all my favorite people would have to be there. With all those elements present, it really wouldn’t matter what we did because I know it would be awesome.
5. What blogs and mags do you read and what shops do you shop at?
I used to read more magazines, but now I mostly read blogs like Craft: Blog, Apartment Therapy, Modish & Indie Fixx. I still like getting an occasional issue of Ceramics Monthly or thumbing through a friend’s copy of Crafts Report.
I buy a lot of things on Etsy or from my crafty friends, but I go to Anthropology and H&M when I need something a bit quicker.
6. What have you recently been reading, watching and listening to?
I just got Handmade Nation a few days ago and I am enjoying reading it before I fall asleep. Last winter, I read all of Jane Austen’s novels – except I am still working on Emma. I don’t really read much in the Summer. I started re-watching Northern Exposure on Netflix in the studio – it was one of my favorite shows when I was in high school and it is funny to watch again all these years later.
7. What’s new? Any products or projects you’d like to share?
I’ve been having fun making some new faux bois plates & trays. The weathered wood grain goes well with my little birds and new woodland themes like mushrooms & gnomes.