Photography – Eric Sæter
Hi! How are you? What are your plans for the day?
Doing wonderful lately. I’ve been on a fantastically productive creative streak for quite some weeks now. Today it looks like I get to apply glazes to a dozen teapots. Then I’ll ship some jewellery orders and then I’ll very excitedly await the glaze firing period… This is time I’ll kill drawing or throwing clay on the wheel.
Have you always lived in Seattle? What’s life like there?
I was born and raised here, and I think I’m pretty attached to these environs now. Though I love traveling I think I’ve accepted that I am very at home with the trees, moss, clean air, mountains. So take me away whenever, but not forever. Living in Seattle feels like living in the foothills of the gods, but it goes to some people’s heads. Be advised, it’s just as otherworldly and pristine as it is cold and inward at times.
Tell me about your ancestry – does it inspire your work at all?
My father and grandfather are industrial artists and I take after them in my love for design and artwork. I’m less
practical than them however; my grandfather was a gunsmith and pops designs airplane parts. My grandparents spoke Norwegian and Swedish and culturally this side of the family appreciated the decorative sensibilities of Norwegian folk art. If the light is just right or you are just a little willing, everything I make will begin to teem with rosemaling (look it up, get lost).
You make ceramics, jewellery, play guitar… Is this the life you envisioned for yourself?
I never really had a concrete projection for who I would or should become, but I had a loose inclination that I would spend a lot of time with the Arts in the side of whatever profession I chose. I was sure in elementary school I would end up in biology or surgery, but later it seemed rather an inevitability that I would end up in architecture though it wasn’t a principle interest or pastime then. Eventually I realised I didn’t have to do anything but learn how to feel good and that included making, sculpting, constructing, doodling and daydreaming.
Do you make a lot of jewellery for yourself? What do you wear day to day?
I basically make most pieces for myself and then as they’re ordered by customers they get resized and reacquainted a little based on how much it might need to change. During the winter season in Seattle it’s too cold to wear metal on the hands!!! In summer you might catch me once a week or so wearing something on my hand. Partially for fun or vanity and partially because it may be a day I need something to play around with. Something I can’t exactly explain is that there’s also a way of feeling very at home on the move in one of my original pieces. For the most part, all of my jewellery lives in a camel shaped dish a friend gave me.
Tell me the story behind your favourite piece of jewellery.
My favourite piece of jewellery is the Sprite ring #2, or, “glossolaliac“. I began sculpting larger monster faces (jovial, convivial, benevolent yet taunting instead of scary) one winter evening and quickly came up with the idea to repeat them in miniature. What they say is something like “hello, FYI: non-compliant“, they’re the sprites of treacherous ideas. The ones you must always give yourself away to. I wear this one the most.
Reading: New Yorker Magazine, Madness and Civilisation – Foucault (again)
Listening to: Amr Diab, Sturgill Simpson, The Beach Boys
Watching: Pedestrians noticing me in the window on my pottery wheel.