Thursday, April 26, 2012

Collette Spears - Collette Spears Ceramics

Meet Collette Spears, a young artist and creative entrepreneur. In her Etsy shop, Collette Spears Ceramics, she offers a unique array of art studio ceramics. In the spirit of full disclosure, I was very excited to learn more about Collette's journey because I attended Ball State University and am a BSU alum.  

Q. How long have you been doing ceramics?
Collette: Well, I took my first ceramics class in Fall 2007, so I am heading toward 5 and a half years in clay. Seems like it's been much longer than that. That first class turned into 3 semesters of high school ceramics and ultimately to a major in college. Right now, I am 3 years into my undergrad. As for Etsy, I think I've been selling for barely a month.

Q. How did you get started doing ceramics?
Collette: Actually, my friend Stephanie and I were going to join my first ceramics class as kind of a joke. She forgot about it, but I didn't. Throwing on the wheel became a truly therapeutic experience for me as I progressed, and going into college with it became even more of a fluke. In retrospect, I think it's really kind of outstanding the way I've kind of stumbled my way into where I am today, especially with as much of a planner as I am.

American Gravy Boat
Q. What do you make?
I am drawn toward making functional work. Especially in this Green Age, the focus is toward owning things that will endure, decreasing waste, and transitioning from disposables to reusables. My work is not only an expression of self, but an attempt to be a part of the global transition to reusables. I see it as the perfect way of integrating an appreciation for handmade things with daily life without accumulating what eventually becomes "stuff." Most of what I have on Etsy are cups and tumblers right now. Especially as this month comes to a close, I will also have plates, teapots, pitchers, and others added. A lot of my work is commenting on my struggles with anxiety and tension and in general the pursuit of the ideal.

Bulbous Cup

Q. What have been some of your greatest accomplishments and proudest moments regarding your work?
Collette: This semester, I have finally started applying to national juried ceramic shows. These are open to all ceramic artists in the United States, and I was really proud of getting into the first couple shows I entered, one in Chicago and another in New Hampshire. I saw these as milestones. I have also been very proud of the personal strides I've made in developing my identity as an artist just in the last few months. I've been honing in on the styles and techniques I want to really pursue, and I am beginning to hit the nail on the head of what I want to articulate through my work.

Q. Where do you see your business and shop in the next few years?
Collette: Being open for only a month, my shop is pretty young in its development. I have been doing a lot of precise patterning and cutting lately, and having to hold many of these pieces for entering shows. One of my goals is to produce enough of these to be able to sell some in my shop, as these really encompass a lot of what I'm trying to say through my work (However, there will be pictures on my personal website). I want to get a lot of outside clay experiences after my undergrad, and I am hoping my work on Etsy follows those experiences.

Swirl Cup

Q. What inspires your work and life?
Collette: It's difficult for me to focus in on specific things that directly inspire me. I do find it in tight, geometric patterns and some architecture, maybe some things in nature. I look to my anxiety for a lot of ideas - the way I do certain things, why I do them, and my body's different responses to anxiety, stress, or tension. It's a big part of who I am, and I take pride in being able to make a visual of something I struggle with that is nonvisual.

Q. When you’re not working on your Etsy shop, what occupies your time?
Collette: The ceramics studio is more of a home than my own apartment. Needless to say, I spend a lot of my extra time in there. I am President of Ball State's Clay Guild, and I am a Program Coordinator with Student Voluntary Services. Unless there's a schedule conflict, I volunteer regularly with Isanogel under Hillcroft Services, working with adults with disabilities during the school year. This summer, I will be working there as a counselor helping to give kids and adults with disabilities a residential camp experience. I am also a runner who loves fruit, Scrabble, and recycling.

Q. What else would you like us to know about your shop, your creations and you?
Collette: Anxiety can either empower you or paralyze you, much like many other obstacles. Think about your obstacles.

Strawberry Square Cup
Be sure to visit Collette:
Collette's Etsy shop
Collette's Website

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