6 Black Ceramicists On What Informs Their Work in 2022

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For Black History Month, we are highlighting the people and projects you should know about all year long. 

Ceramics are a great way to add a handmade element to your housewares and decor. It's fun to approach the design as its own story — one that combines color, form, space, and texture in ways that delight our senses and stretch our imaginations.

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Every ceramicist has their own approach to their work. When creating, they may be driven by concrete goals, or more intuitive forces. Gaining insight into what inspires their designs provides a small glimpse into their art process.

In honor of Black History Month, we got in touch with a few of our favorite Black ceramicists whose work combines personal aesthetics and function in thrilling ways. Curious about their own inspirations for the new year, we asked: What is informing or guiding your work in 2022? Here are their answers.

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1. Inner magic.

"Magic, made material. I'm talking about that life-altering, reality-shifting, metamorphic, unexplainable, celestial magic. For me, 2021 was a year of phenomenal highs, profound lows, and, at the end, rediscovery. At the end of the year I regained my magic and launched a totally new holiday collection, then a subscription box like none other, Obsidian. This year, I fully step into my mantle as a catalyst for beauty. Every single deal I land, each piece I design, every service I launch requires me to reach deep into my soul, take two fistfuls of power, and use it to transmute raw magic into the atoms of clay, the particles of light. 2022 is about creating the impossible." — Sherród Faulks of DEEP BLACK

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2. A desire to play.

"This year I'm focusing on getting weird. I'm pulling away from the business side of things so I can play. Sometimes the pressure to perform, be accepted, and my desire for validation can hold me back from pushing my work. I'm looking to other artists I love and seeing what I love about their work; from there I'm figuring out my own flavor, my own voice." — Tasha Reneé of Tasha Throws Raw

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3. Tactility.

"Texture has been guiding my work so far this year. I'm a very tactile person, and I have been on a mission lately to make my work irresistible to the touch. I want to add textures and glaze layers that are so visually interesting that they inspire users to want to pick up the pieces, run their fingers along them, and look at them more closely. I want to create pieces that people reach for constantly, because they just love the way they feel in their hands." — Camille Beckles of Camille @ the Wheel

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4. Experimentation.

"In 2022 I definitely plan on experimenting more. There are so many different ways to expand your art form within the ceramic medium. Last year, I didn't have a lot of time to experiment and I felt that it hindered my growth as an artist. I dabble in both hand-building and wheel-throwing which has added versatility to my collection, but I would like to expand that by experimenting with different glazes, decal transfers, and scaling the size of my pieces. This year I hope to prioritize experimenting and making as many new pieces as I can to promote a free-flowing creative process." — Virginia Felix of keraclay

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5. Embracing new shapes and functionality.

"My work is always guided by colors and patterns rooted in Africa. This year I want to bring in new shapes and products that can be used around the home. My Zulu pattern has its roots in South Africa. This year, I will be launching a new collection with roots in Kenya, called Maasai." — Diana Adams of SampleHAUS

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6. Refining and deepening the creative process.

"I'm working on refining my efforts into a core body of work, by narrowing my catalog to a more limited set of pieces that I can edit and revise. I deeply believe that nothing is ever truly done, that ideas can always be improved. I'm looking forward to fine tuning some of the things I make to discover new aspects to old friends. I'll also devote some time to expanding into more sculptural, gallery style pieces. Functional pottery is my heart, but I want to explore making some works that are designed for display rather than everyday use. Finally, I just want to deepen my practice — working with clay is demanding and the more you give, the more you get." — Kristina Batiste of Juniper Clay

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