To me, there's nothing more comforting than curling up in some cozy pj's and cradling a warm cup of hot chocolate. Super bonus points if I'm drinking out of a totally badass mug.
I've been a fan of Bear from Everyday Earthware for a while now. I always saw her pieces floating around Instagram and fell in love with the beautiful handmade detailing and gorgeous colors of her pottery. Also, a lot of her designs are pretty hilarious, which would make absolute perfect gifts for my non-conventional girlfriends...see HERE and HERE
I recently sat down with the woman herself, had an amazing chat, and she gave me this stunning Buffalo mug which I cherish dearly. The holiday season is upon us, and giving someone a gift from a big box store is fine, but giving someone a handmade gift made by a local artisan is so so so much better.
I asked Bear a few questions about herself and her business, and here's what she had to say!
When did you start your business?
2011 is when I officially started selling pottery -- mostly locally in Buffalo.
Have you always known that pottery was something that you wanted to pursue?
Not at all, at least not specifically. I did want to be an *artist* as a child and into my teen years, but thought that path would be rooted in surrealist painting. But I attended Fredonia State for a B.A. and M.A. in Literature, and only on a whim took a pottery class during winter break of my last semester. It completely altered the trajectory of my life.
How did you come up with the name for your brand?
Months of revised brainstorming lists...but the goal is to emphasize the pottery (earthware) and its functionality (everyday). Hence: Everyday Earthware. And, E.V.E. (pronounced Eve -- with all the historical allusion that implies knowingly attached) in abbreviation.
What do you love about owning your own business?
It motivates me to work, to obsess about the quality of my work in a way that nothing else ever has. And, in that way -- having given so much of myself to grow the business -- becomes immensely rewarding when it succeeds. Making pottery and owning my own business has given me a sense of purpose that I previously lacked. It set my soul on fire, and that is a blissful, blessed feeling to tap into during moments of doubt + challenge.
What are the challenges that come with owning your own business?
There are many. But, specifically, for those of us solo entrepreneurs it has to be time management -- YOU have to do everything. In my case it runs the gamut from: making pottery ( which includes the time it leaves the bag of clay, to shaping it, trimming it, surface decoration, firing, glazing, and re-firing it) to taking photos + writing Etsy listings; and answering emails, writing invoices + making deliveries, boxing + shipping; also the social media director, and in charge of buying supplies + keeping financial records...that's the short list.
What I mean to say is that it can get very stressful and overwhelming to keep everything sorted and running smoothly -- Oh, and something about a family + social life?? Every day on the job requires you to be organized, thorough, and creatively solve problems.
But, I'm not complaining -- because I LOVE my job + working for this business.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I try to work from as much source material as possible -- whether it's things in nature, or pop culture, even politics, fantasy, literature, spirituality + symbols. Symbols, patterns, and quotes appear frequently as surface decoration. Color is a huge focus -- it sets the mood for the piece, and synthesizes the other elements (form, texture, line, light, space, and shape) together.
What do you love most about Buffalo?
I've been calling Buffalo the "fun-sized candy bar city" for years! And I mean that in the best way possible, this badass Buffalo bish packs a mighty punch -- there's so much to see + do + explore in such a relatively small (mileage wise) city. Turn any corner and there's some interesting local flair -- it could be food related, a park, an art installation, live music, architectural wonders all over the place. The history is fascinating, the location is amazing -- Lake Erie is one of the great loves of my life, and the weather is...interesting? There's much to love about our fair city.
What's currently on your playlist?
Love this question!
Currently: Gord Downie's posthumous (flipping amazing) album "Introduce Yerself"; and LCD Soundsystem's latest album "American Dream", also Grizzly Bear's new release "Painted Ruins", and bloody hell I am here to PREACH to you the gospel of FUTURE ISLANDS. Their April 2017 album "The Far Field" is a good place to start, but by all means peruse their entire discography. Samuel T. Herring aka Hemlock Ernst (stage-name) is a modern day prophet and I feel honored to stand witness to his testimony. Creepy religious metaphor aside, hit them up.
ALSO, I listen to what can only medically be deemed an *unhealthy* amount of podcasts (and some audio books) on topics ranging from archaeology and ancient cultures, to modern sociology, psychology, and historical non-fiction.
What are your plans for the future of your business?
In the foreseeable future I will continue to work on expanding the listings offered on the Everyday Earthware Etsy shop. That has been such a cool experience to work on mug designs and other pieces that have moved my work in different directions, expanded my skills, and enhanced my style. A sneak peak of what I'm working on for 2018: using the full set of Zodiac sign linoleum stamps I hand-carved last year, I will be working on listing (on Etsy) a batch of Zodiac mugs -- with colors specifically chosen for that sign -- each month of 2018!
Make sure to check out her Etsy shop and support a very talented WNY artist!