Friday, May 20, 2011

Interview with Olive Mud

  • Bamboo Mug

  • Editors note: I decided to make this the first post, because well, it just made me darn laugh! She's very talented, and modest and of course humorous.  So without further delay, I give you the first Baltimore Craftesian  Bri!...

  • Bri, from Baltimore, MD, United States

How did you get started?
I've been playing with clay since I was about 12. I was always fascinated with making little figures from polymer clay, so it was only natural for me to show interest in the medium when I started taking art classes in high school. My first experience on the potter's wheel was pretty disastrous.. It ended with clay on the floor and none on the wheel. I didn't find my footing until my second semester of ceramics in college. 

How did you selected your name?
My name is a tribute to one of the most creative and loving women I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. My Nana, Olive Warner, was an extremely talented seamstress, cook, gardener, and duck pin bowler among many other things. Olive mud - I love mud.. Get it? This is my way of thanking her for inspiring me to use my creativity to the fullest every chance that I get. I love her and miss her every day. 

Describe your studio.
Until recently I was working out of the shared studio space at Harford Community College in Bel Air, MD. My plans of one day having my own studio are still in the works.. Here's what it looks like in my mind - A decent sized shed in the back of my dream home, somewhere out west. Shelves lined with greenware, bisqued pots, and finished work.. An electric wheel next to the window. And all the clay I can get my hands in. Oh! And a gas kiln large enough to walk into. Like I said, I'm working on it!

What you are doing now, where do you want to take this business?
Right now I'm in between schools. I've recently been accepted to Colorado State University and the University of Colorado in Boulder. I'm currently seeking a studio arts degree in order to expand my knowledge of not only clay but every other medium I come across. I look forward to exploring new techniques and further developing my signature style. Once I'm through with my degree I hope to open a little shop somewhere and mix clay with my other passion - coffee/tea. It's pretty convenient that coffee mugs are usually ceramic, isn't it? 

What obstacles have you faced?
I must say, I have been extremely fortunate when it comes to this sort of thing. That being said, it's very early in the game with me. I'm sure once I take off with things I'll be faced with all kinds of obstacles. The first will likely be finding a personal studio space. 

What good things have happened?
Since I've been a part of the studio at HCC I have learned so much. Everyone helps each other out there, we're constantly learning. I could not have asked for a better group of people to be surrounded by during my exploration of the material. And of course none of this would have come about had it not been for my first (and favorite) ceramics professor, Jim McFarland, and the best studio aid and artist, Gretchen Walsh. 

What bad things have happened and what did you learn from them?
Let's see.. bad things? The usual.. pieces breaking, glazes failing, kilns under/over firing, forms flopping, cracking, shrinking. But all of these things are to be expected.. and for that reason I have learned to be patient and say a little prayer to the clay gods whenever doing something risky. 

Contact information.
Right now, you can find some of my pieces listed on Etsy. I'm having a bit of down time as I transition from Maryland to Colorado, but I assure you I will have more work available as soon as I am settled.

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