Monday Must: Paving a Creative Path
Hello! My name is Steffi and I am a ceramic artist based in Ottawa, Canada. I create modern functional wares to be enjoyed in life's daily routine. My style walks the line between minimal and playful and I enjoy creating with clean lines and gentle curves. I have been working with clay for over 15 years, I teach, create and sell my pieces locally and internationally.
I love what I do. I love being able to create every day, get muddy, play and be lucky enough to make a living out of it. Keeping any type of creativity in your life can make it so much better, especially when life throws you a curveball (i.e. a global pandemic).
Start. Take the plunge
It can be slowly or boldly but start seeking out ways to be creative by finding what interests you and brings you joy. I began working with clay 15 years ago at school. I followed that feeling of what made me happy and day by day I followed that path. I went to Concordia and completed my BFA in ceramics so that I could get all the technical tools that I needed to understand the medium. I never planned on selling my work and creating my brand but I always knew that I wanted art to be part of my life.
You never know how certain experiences can add to your creative path. I began teaching and working as a technician at a pottery studio and that helped me share my love for clay and all its possibilities. One day, I decided to go support a friend at a show they were exhibiting artwork at and ended up meeting an organizer of local markets. And that is how I started selling my work, after years of creating just for me.
Keep good people in your corner
Those who support you and encourage you. I've been lucky to have many cheerleaders along the way. From my parents nurturing my artistic path from a young age to mentors, friends, studio mates and partners. Creative living can be just as vulnerable as it can be rewarding. Having good people around when you're having doubts can be life-changing (literally!). My partner has believed in me from day one and has always encouraged me to jump wholeheartedly. When I was presented with the opportunity to buy a very expensive piece of equipment (that would essentially make me a full-time potter) his belief in me helped me take that huge step and start building my brand.
Riding the creative high
One of the best parts of running a creative business is the connection with my customers and collectors.
I'm honored that people choose my pieces to add a little beauty and function to their every day. I love thinking about how many homes have one of my mugs in their cupboard, just waiting for that morning coffee. I try to put positive energy into all my pieces when I'm working with the clay because I like to believe that they hold on to that energy while they're being used.
Using positive feedback you receive can boost your drive when you encounter self-doubt and can keep you happy in your creative path.
Setting time aside to just play and purely enjoy creating is something very important to me. I'm very lucky to be busy with orders and projects and sometimes the business side of my creative business starts to take over. Clay is such a wonderful medium to just play with. Whatever creative thing you love to do, don't forget to play and let ideas just organically happen with no agenda or plan. Playing with clay and knowing that most of my days involve muddy hands is what keeps me immensely grateful that this is my life :)
I teach pottery locally in Ottawa and sell my work at markets and various shops. You can see what I've been creating and shop on my website as well.