Ceramics are the ultimate marriage of art and function, they hold our favorite steamy beverages and house our beloved plant babies and the artful wares from our newest maker, Sandbox Ceramics, are no exception. The Oregon-based ceramicist, Petra Kaiser, embraces bold color and modern design, making her the perfect addition to our shelves and yours.
We asked Petra a little bit about herself, her business, and her craft. Read on below...
When did you first sit down at a wheel?
I sat at a wheel for the first time in a community college ceramics class for beginners in 2015. I'd been feeling lost for years in terms of what career I should pursue after dabbling in photo styling, floral design, photography and graphic design. Nothing was feeling right until I discovered wheel thrown ceramics. After touching clay that first time I almost immediately bought my own wheel and haven't stopped since!
You clearly have an eye for modern design, what made you choose ceramics as your medium? Do you dabble in any other mediums?
I've always been really attracted to making with my hands and I chose ceramics over any other medium because the possibilities are literally endless! There's always new techniques to learn, glazes to make, patterns to try! Pottery can also be heartbreaking when disaster strikes. Some elements are out of the makers control and I've had to hone in my problem solving skills which can be applied to any area of life. Before ceramics I dabbled in quite a few mediums while trying to "find my bliss", but was most serious about finding my niche in graphic design. At the end of the day it feels right for me to be covered in clay and grinning ear to ear rather than being in a squeaky-clean office setting.
What inspires the patterns/designs and color palette of your pieces?
I'm really attracted to and inspired by patterns. I try to keep all my forms super-simple and angular so that it's not "too much" when I add a pattern or design. I want my work to be simple enough for everyday use, but not boring! I'm mostly drawn to matte washed-out pastels but I also love a bold pop of color once in a while (helloooo orange!!!). Black is always a staple, of course.
How has Sandbox evolved since you started?
Sandbox came about pretty organically. I was throwing work for my family and myself just to learn the fundamentals, but in late 2015 I decided to participate in an online holiday pop up and had to quickly create a website and business name to submit. Pottery made me lose track of time and just concentrate only on my lump of clay, much like I did as a kid in a sandbox making little sandy masterpieces- thus Sandbox Ceramics was born. The story is slightly corny, but the name stuck! Since then I started focusing on marketing my work and to my disbelief shops started to reach out about carrying my work and I started making online sales. I eventually quit the day job that I hated (I still work for another PDX potter part time) and here I am. I wouldn't have it any other way.