Jessica is an artist and ceramic born in the late 80´s. She lives in Philiadelphia, where she creates fantastic shapes and colours out of clay.
Sunday: Hi Jessica. How are you feeling today?
Jessica: I’m feeling very ~*nice*~. This week I’m working a freelance job in Florida doing special plaster wall finishing for a retail store. The work is a lot of fun and always with a wonderful group of people. There’s typically a good amount of down time. Right now I’m writing this poolside on a warm sunny Monday afternoon.
S: What are you working on right now?
Jessica: I just finished a large licensing agreement and production order with HAY of Copenhagen. As we tie up that project I’ve been working on some small collaborative projects with friends in Philadelphia and NY. I’ve been drawing and painting a lot lately which has offered a nice break from working exclusively in ceramics for the past many months. I like flowers a lot so I’ve been painting many of those.
S:When did you realize that ceramic was your passion?
Jessica: I started off with a formal training in textile design; weaving and print and pattern at an arts college in Philadelphia where I focused heavily on dyeing with natural materials like berries and roots. I transferred schools to a college in Baltimore, Maryland called Maryland Institute College of Art where I picked up my first clay class on a whim to satisfy elective credits. I immediately loved the material; that tactility of it, the versatility of it, and began taking mostly ceramics classes!
Ceramics satisfied my interest in foraging, too, because there are many clay sites along the Chesapeake Bay where I could dig my own clay. The maker has to bend to the rules of the ceramic material, it really has a mind of its own. You have to be very forgiving when using clay and very sensitive to it’s needs. I became pretty quickly enamored with the world of chemistry that is ceramics, too. Taking whatever raw materials and glaze class I could while still in school.
I graduated from College and worked for a few years at a ceramic engineering facility that specialized in 3D printing of ceramic for industrial purposes. I’d have continued working in science and engineering but really just wanted to make art all the time so sadly left that job.
S: Where do you source inspiration?
Jessica: The outdoors, for sure. I spend as much time as possible walking in the woods outside of Philadelphia. Spring this year was very good to me; I worked occasionally for a forager friend of mine collecting ramps (wild spring onions), other wild greens, and mushrooms.
I also recently discovered that I’m deeply inspired by flowers! I work sometimes as a freelance floral designer. I love learning about all of the different species of flowering plants, especially the ones that are native to my area and that are cultivated for floral use. It’s ironic to me that I’ve been making ceramic vase forms for many years but only recently did I come to love floral arranging.
S: Who is your favourite artist?
Jessica: Landon Metz’s paintings, Takuro Kuwata’s ceramics, Aidan Koch’s illustrations. I also love the work of Malin Gabriella Nordin. And Mark Delong. Mostly a lot of contemporary artists, peers, etc. Of course Matisse and also Picasso’s ceramics.
S: How does your studio look like?
Jessica: I just moved into a new studio, a 450q ft space in a warehouse in North Philly - I love it so much!! The floors are very old hardwood that have a nice thick coat of wax on them and they look so nice and golden when the sun comes through my three giant windows. I have a big new work table that I built with a friend that is perfect for having visitors come work and share space with me. I only have a couple of plants in there at the moment because I just moved but very eager to mount shelves in front of one of the windows for my collection of house plants. There is also a kitchen in the space so I can take breaks and make lunch. The studio is in a good neighborhood, too, with a couple of coffee shops and cafés within walking distance.
S: What music are you currently playing in your studio?
Jessica: I’ve been listening to a lot of House music lately, it’s the perfect thing to get me mood to work. There are a couple of DJs that I’ve been really into like Oliver Hafenbauer and his label Die Orakel and also LowJack. I like L.I.E.S. Records out of Bushwick, too.
S: What is your favourite hangout in your neighbourhood?
Jessica: My garden! And there is a very nice park a couple of blocks from my house that is nice to walk to and watch kids play. I also just like going on walks around my neighborhood a lot. There are lots of beautiful flowers in the gardens of the big Victorian houses in West Philly.
S: Latest watched on Netflix?
Jessica: The anime Soul Eater :-3
S: If you could choose only one thing in your home to keep for life, what would it be? (not a person or an animal)
Jessica: I try to not hold on to anything in that kind of way, where I can’t live without it or that I want to keep with me forever. so I’m having a hard time thinking of one object. I love all of my belongings and am generally very sentimental! I would miss all of the art and clothes made by my friends; some special ceramic pieces by Erin Jane Nelson or Josephine Heilpern, some paintings by Paul Wackers and Colin Alexander, my CF comic books.
S: What are you reading right now? And can you recommend it?
Jessica: I’m reading The Swamp by Michael Grunwald; the subtitle is “The Everglades, Florida, and the Politics of Paradise” which I think pretty effectively sums up the plot. It includes a very comprehensive history of Everglades National Park in South Florida. and focus heavily on the ecology of the region, how it has been tragically disrupted due to “man’s progress” and over-development, the lessons we’ve learned and how conservation and preservation practices have spawned as a result. It’s such an amazing book, I would definitely recommend it!
S: Do you have any good tips for a sustainable lifestyle?
Jessica: I think one important credo is to take only what you need and leave the rest for the next person or creature to benefit from. Also just treat all things with kindness and compassion because everyone is different and unique and you often don’t know what their story is!
S: Five things that make your Sunday?
- An hour (or three) of meditation
- A slow breakfast
- A good book
- A nice stretch