Thursday, April 5, 2012

Alex & Lisa - LaPella Pottery

LaPella Pottery is a team effort between Lisa and Alex. In their interview they share what makes their teamwork rare, where their shop is headed and what inspires them.

Q. How long have you been doing ceramics?
I discovered pottery in college in 1994 - 18 years ago. Alex has been working a bit longer - since 1992. We joined Etsy in the early days, in 2006. We were slow to begin selling and it took longer still to get serious about Etsy as a venue. Initially we thought it was where we'd sell things that were not representative of the rest of our work.

Q. How did you get started doing ceramics?
We both have BFAs in Fine Arts, concentrating in Ceramics. Alex and I both first put our hands in clay in college. Alex was a Fine Arts major concentrating on 2D at the time. I was a math major (yes, really!) and knew from my first weeks in a ceramics studio I had found my home.

Q. What do you make?
We focus on functional pottery that brings beauty to the table. We want to make items that bring pleasure to the mundane parts of our days and fill homes with art. We have a wide range of lines because we are always exploring the musings of two instead of one. 

Q. What makes your team rare?
Everything we do is collaborative and we both do each job, which makes us something of a rarity. While husband and wife pottery teams are not rare, most have a husband who throws and a wife who decorates or vice versa. We, instead, each throw, trim, build, and decorate - all the while passing pieces back and forth between us so that each is a product of two minds and two hearts. 

Q. What have been some of your greatest accomplishments and proudest moments regarding your work and shop?
We recently passed 1000 sales on Etsy. While that was a thrill, the personal achievements mean the most. Last year, our pastor called us to say that she was dying and wanted us to make her urn. That conversation is one that I treasure and making her urn was an honor.

Just recently, we completed another big project that was really an honor. We made memorial plaques that are being presented to the parents of children lost at the St. Jude's satellite hospital in our town. Project like these stick with us and mean so much. The children that we never met become woven into the fabric of our consciousness.

Q. Where do you see your business and shop in the next few years?
I said on New Year's that this year I would make twice the pots I made last year.... and sell them, too! So, that is my lofty short term goal. Really, though, I get to do what I love for a living - what more can I ask for?

Q. What are your favorite items currently listed in your shop?

I love making travel mugs and our Skullies seem to find their way on lots of things, so this mug is a favorite!

Ravens shop up all over our work and home, so this Raven Wabi Sabi dish is a constant visitor in our studio.

The retablos are recent additions to our work and we enjoy creating each one. This one has a milkweed beetle on it.
Q. What inspires your work and lives?
We are always looking at pottery and collecting pottery, but we find that it is the philosophy of other potters that inspires us more than their work. We are also inspired by the natural world around us and we are often hiking and taking pictures of leaves, birds, and textures found around us.

Q. When you’re not working on your Etsy shop, what occupies your time?
Alex and I both paint in our spare time. We also quilt, sew, and build things. We love to build things from reclaimed pallets and found materials.

We have two boys keep us either laughing or scrambling to keep up with them. We also have two dogs, a cat, and 20 chickens. We are always, always busy!

Q. What else would you like us to know about your shop, your creations and you?
We believe in handmade not just because supporting handmade supports small business, but because supporting handmade supports people and their spirits. We believe that we are created to be creators and supporting another in their creative spirit is an act of love.

In addition to their Etsy shop, LaPella Pottery you can find Alex and Lisa here:

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