This is the third in a new series called #seamlygal – interviews with bold and mindful women, posted (most) every other week. Sign up for our weekly newsletter for future interviews with artists, makers, founders, movers and shakers!
I fell for Anne's ceramics instantly. In fact, her pots were the first items my boyfriend and I bought when we moved in together (and we’re not the buy-at-whim kind of people). So, I’ve been crushing on her work for awhile now, and was thrilled to interview Anne about her company, Carnevale Clay, last time I visited Denver. We sat down for a chat + photo session in her studio, and I got to see the process in person.
Photographed in: Seamly.co black Jersey Popover
Anne found herself, almost accidentally, in a ceramics class during a study abroad term in Italy. Since then - regardless of what else was going on in her life -- from theater set designing to waiting tables in NYC -- ceramics has always been part of her life. “I was always doing it. I just kept up with it no matter where I was. I’d go for a year without it, if I couldn’t find a studio, but I’d find myself going back to it. I was never doing any of this full-time. I always had a day job.” And then that changed, when two years ago she committed to Carnevale Clay full time. “I was ready, for sure. It was overdue,” she says. Her work has been picked up by Anthropologie and West Elm, featured in DesignSponge, NYTimes Magazine, and Apartment Therapy, and is currently carried in over a dozen stockists worldwide.
Growing up, Anne lived in the Mediterranean for two years -- her parents were both teachers and worked for the American School. Every summer after that, they returned, staying with friends or camping, and going to archaeological sites (her dad was a classics teacher). She loved finding shards of pottery and going scuba diving, and the forms in her latest collection are inspired by memories of these places and cultures. As she says, “those forms always stuck in my mind.”
“The idea of finding the balance between form and function was so exciting for me - figuring out how we relate to and with an object, how it feels in the hand, how it is able to move with us and fit to our lips. I really loved it but I also found these curiosities lead to other interests, however none were ever as fulfilling."
(Something I think about a lot, being a solo-preneur who wants to keep it that way.) “I love it. I have no qualms.” “You just wanna walk in, you wanna work. That’s when I work the best. I’m never comfortable showing people what I’m doing while I’m working.”
“I make this work for everyone, but in reality it’s for people who are willing to invest in an object, take care of the object, treat it with respect and don’t subscribe to the throw away society of the west. There’s a movement now that is being lead by the older end – those of us who grew up with only mass production. What you had in your home was exactly what your neighbor had and it wasn’t designed to last. So we all just waited for that day that item failed so we could just ‘toss’ it in order to buy a new temporary one at the corporate big box store. My generation grew up with that mentality, so I find that we are literally hungry for sustainable, long lasting, invested, handmade items that have integrity.”
In talking about how the last few generations have changed: “[Back then] you did everything. I mean, you were good at everything. You made your clothes, you gardened, you made your food, you grew your food, you knew how to do all of those things and you were completely sustainable. When we went to the cities, we all specialized in one thing and [became] dependent on other people. And, so I’m trying to go back and be able to do all of those things and not having to rely on anyone else for those things. So, that I find exciting.” ### Anne and her husband live from their garden plot. They eat long meals. Her workday follows her natural rhythm, creating later at night and not early in the morning. I left her studio thinking, THIS is how she creates such beautiful work. She makes space for what feels right to her. She’s doing her own thing. And the result is playful and raw, with intention -- perhaps all that any of us could ask for, in whatever we create.
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