Monday, April 21, 2008

Handgrown Pottery by Leesa Brinkley


Leesa Brinkley, Carey, NC, USA
Brand: Handgrown Pottery
Shop: lgbrinkley.etsy.com

I could flip through Leesa's work all day long! Every single piece makes me happy and although I haven't had the opportunity to meet Leesa in person, I can tell just by reading her words that her work really comes from somewhere deep and genuine.

Have you ever looked at something - whether it was a blog, a cupcake or a soap dish - and you can tell how much fun someone was having while working on it? Well, that's how I feel about Leesa's pottery. It's as if, each piece was her first!


Last year I turned 40 and made the whole year one of celebrating and trying new things.


1. I know that you work as a full-time graphic designer. How did you get into pottery and where did you learn your craft?

I’ve always been artistic. My mom has boxes full of things I created as a child so art and creating has always been just part of my existence. Last year I turned 40 and made the whole year one of celebrating and trying new things. I’d always wanted to take a pottery class, so I enrolled in our town art center’s 6-week course in basic pottery and I was hooked! So I’ve really only been doing pottery for a short time – not even a year.

>> continue reading Leesa's interview

2. When did you start selling on Etsy? There are those who feel that the exposure they get online isn't necessarily all good - some believe that a high percentage of those viewing their work are lurkers with negative intentions. How do you feel about this?

... I was running out of friends to give them to, so my husband suggested I start trying to sell them.

Well, once I started doing pottery, I found that I had these little pieces starting to pile up and I was running out of friends to give them to, so my husband suggested I start trying to sell them. I had been an Etsy buyer for a year or so, and thought I would create a shop, put a few things in and see what happened. My goal had been to get my shop up and running in January of 08, but it was so easy it just took a few hours one afternoon! So my first official selling date was December 27, 2007.

As far as the online exposure, I’ve never been one to worry or have much fear, so I didn’t even hold a thought in my head about any negative impact. For me, any difficult situations that have come about have just been lessons for me on how to let go and let be. I can’t control what other people do or think, I can only control how I react to any given situation and I’ve learned that holding on to any resentment or anger only really hurts me. I do try to let go and forgive and keep a soft heart; otherwise I’m just really only keeping myself from happiness.

Make your work from the heart, from a pure place of blessed happiness and humbleness for the gifts God has given you, let all the other stuff go and when your work comes from truth - the blessings come.



3. One of the hardest things for artists to do is to stand apart from everyone else. How long did it take you to come up with your own style and signature look? What advice can you give aspiring artists struggling to find their own voice and look?

I can only speak from my experience, but here’s my secrets for success. First, put God first in your life, then make sure your work just makes you happy and is something you love to do, and that you do it from a place of giving back.

Don't worry about money, or sales, or numbers, or figures, or what someone else is doing, EVER!

Make your work from the heart, from a pure place of blessed happiness and humbleness for the gifts God has given you, let all the other stuff go and when your work comes from truth - the blessings come.

If you can come from that place, then there's peace and honesty in your work and in yourself and come what may - you remain centered and joyful through it all.


Don't worry about money, or sales, or numbers, or figures, or what someone else is doing, EVER!

4. How would you describe your style?

My style is deep simplicity. By that I mean, deep thoughts and ideas presented in a simple form. I have always been a fast artist. I can’t work on a piece for days or weeks at a time, I just don’t have that kind of attention span. I like instant gratification I guess… :)

5. How do you come up with your lovely designs?

Most of the words and phrases I use come from personal growth experiences in my own life. I am also a collector of words, so to speak, and keep journals of poems, words, phrases that whisper to my heart and touch me. I try to live with my eyes wide open, seeing the beauty all around me – in nature, in other people, in books and magazines, it’s just all over really, if you look for it.


6. Can you briefly describe the process to us pottery newbies?

Basically you start with a lump of clay and roll it and shape it to your desired form, and then it drys to a point where you can carve designs in it and then it dries some more, until it’s ready to go into the kiln for it’s first bake which takes 16 hours with the heat slowly rising to about 2300 degress or so. That’s HOT! Once it’s cooled, it’s ready to glaze and add all the color and shine to and then it’s back in the kiln for another bake. The 2nd firing is a quicker rise to the same 2300 degrees or so, but this time it only takes about 5 hours. Once it’s cooled enough (usually a whole day or so), you can open the kiln see how everything came out

My favorite part is definitely opening the kiln on that 2nd and last firing! It’s so fun, it’s like Christmas morning every time I open it!

7. What part of the pottery process is your favorite? Which part makes you tear your hair out?

My favorite part is definitely opening the kiln on that 2nd and last firing! It’s so fun, it’s like Christmas morning every time I open it! I’ll wake up all sleepy and then I remember that I can unload the kiln and I pop out of bed and hurry to get dressed to see how things came out. It’s a part of the process that just never gets old for me!

As for tearing my hair out? Hmmmm, I can’t think of anything that makes me feel that way… I try not to have too many things in my life that ever make me feel like that! It’s a process but I’m trying!

8. Who is your idol/current craft-crush?

There are so many talented and creative folks on etsy that are just amazing, but my favorite artist of the moment is Andrew Goldsworthy. His work and talent with nature photography is just out of this world! I would love to just be his coffee girl for a day or a week!!!


9. What can we expect to see from you in the future?

I’ve got some totally new designs coming up that will probably be out and posted very soon. Cute new little things that hopefully will bring a smile to people’s lives.

That’s one thing I love about what Etsy has brought to my world – a connection with people from all over the world that you normally wouldn’t even know existed.

10. What are the first 3 blogs that you read everyday?

I don’t really have time to read my mail, much less blogs, although I’m fascinated by them. When I do visit someone’s blog, I’m always utterly and completely amused by them and am just blown away by people’s creativity. I love seeing photos from people’s lives and their creations and hearing their thoughts about random things that we all see or deal with! That’s one thing I love about what Etsy has brought to my world – a connection with people from all over the world that you normally wouldn’t even know existed.

It’s like when we took a vacation to the Bahamas one summer and we swam way far out to this reef with our snorkeling gear and discovered all these amazing, totally awesome, unbelievably gorgeous colorful fish and sponges and grasses and anemones and wildlife existing here. Every single day such beauty and majesty exists under the ocean and when you discover that all that amazing stuff goes on every day while you are just living in a little subdivision somewhere in a little town in North Carolina, it just puts a different perspective to your world. So reading people’s blogs and hearing about the lives they lead is similar to peeking into the wonderful undersea world. You just feel a little bit richer from the experience.

Thanks Leesa!

7 comments:

Melissa de la Fuente said...

so Beautiful and happy...I love Leesa's work and can't wait to get some of my own. I love her idea of deep simplicity(I subscribe to that philosophy myself) and think she is definitely succeeding at creating lovely works of art that make people feel good and uplifted.
xo
Melissa

benconservato said...

Her work is so beautiful, thanks for sharing with us. It is very accessible, which I think is also important.

Michelle said...

How inspiring!! I turn 40 this year and I'm going to adopt Leesa's thinking and make "the whole year one of celebrating and trying new things.” I can't believe she's only been a potter for such a short time. Her work is just fabulous. Thanks for the post!

jozette said...

Just found this blog...so many beautiful things on here. I really love this pottery. Each piece you posted - love!!

MARICHELLE said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed this interview!

Melissa: I wish I can have them all! I think the worst part about this job is wanting EVERY single thing I post about!

Emma: I'm very happy to share Leesa's amazing work! Her principles are so inspiring.

Michelle: I know... less than a year!! Isn't that crazy? It's so inspiring and reminds me to keep at it and to never ever stop learning and trying new things!

jozette: I'm so happy that you found Heart Handmade! Welcome!!

xfreshbatteryx said...

wow her work is so beautiful! I adore it!
claire elizabeth

MARICHELLE said...

hi Claire!