Artist: Kim Westad
Web site: Kim Westad
Etsy: Kim Westad Ceramics
Location: Yonkers, New York.
What do you create?
Porcelain vessels, bowls, cups, serving pieces, and vases.
What is your first memory of being inspired to make/craft something?
I don't really have a first memory of making anything, probably because as far back as I can remember, I was always drawing or coloring and making pictures for people. I do remember making a book called "All about Me" when I was in first grade. I'm pretty sure my mom still has that.
When and why did you decide to start your business?
In 2004, a space in my neighborhood became available and I saw it as an opportunity to set up a studio with my own kiln, equipment and materials. It was at that time that I really started thinking about my work as a business. I began creating a "body of work" as opposed to individual pieces. Those early pieces were the starting point of what has become my signature style. Ceramics as a business forced me to get serious about creating visibility for myself and my work.
Where do you get your inspiration for your projects?
Everywhere! Natural forms are a big inspiration- flower buds just before they bloom, broken seashells and bits from the ocean that I have been collecting since I was a kid. Also, fluid movements- the way water spirals down the drain. I'm always thinking about how everyday things can be reinterpreted in clay. That stems directly from my love of modern design and architecture which have heavily influenced the way I think about my work and how I can push beyond traditional forms to create unique functional pieces. My Whirls collection is a definite result of this.
Which of the tools you use is your favorite?
My X-acto knife and the squeeze bottles that I use to apply slip.
What is your favorite part of your creative process?
Taking a ball of clay and working with it to see how far it can be pushed before it collapses or cracks.
What keeps you motivated?
Pressure to keep making progress. All the positive feedback I've received, as well as how my work has evolved over the last few years, continues to motivate me.
How do you get the word out about your work?
Etsy has been an amazing outlet for me, as have blogs, craft fairs and word of mouth.
What is your main goal for the next 6-12 months?
To expand my visibility and increase sales of my current lines, as well as continuing to develop new design ideas I am working on.
What advice would you give to someone starting a creative business?
Make what you love and do what pleases you to the best of your ability. I think my work took a turn for the better once I realized I could make what I wanted. I focused on what I thought was good, rather than what I had been told what was good. Also, don't be shy about promoting yourself. Promotion, networking, paperwork, and bookkeeping are all important, even if you don't enjoy them as much as making the work.
What’s the most important thing you’d like people to know/understand about your work?
I feel like there is a connection between myself and each piece I make. When I sell a piece, I always wonder where it's going and how it will be used. It's like sending a part of myself out into the world. I put a lot of time and effort into every piece, and I want people to use and enjoy my pieces. I don't think I would enjoy making them as much if I was the only one who was ever going to see them.
What adjectives would you use to describe your work?
Fluid, tactile and unique.
Who are some of your favorite indie designers/artists?
I LOVE the work of ceramic artist and designer Diana Fayt. Also Mira Alibek and Jennifer Maestre.
If money, deadlines, scheduling, etc weren’t an obstacle what new project would you like to take on?
I would love to build a studio from the ground up that would be totally customized to my work flow. It would have tons of windows and a little outdoor area where I could take a break from work to play with my dogs.
What's your definition of a perfect day?
Sleeping past 6:30 a.m. and waking to a warm, sunny day. Good coffee, doing a bit of work then spending time outside with my husband and my dogs. ￼ ￼ ￼ ￼ ￼
Thank you Kim!
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