Heather Levine is a Los-Angeles based ceramic artist and lighting designer. I am super excited to feature her as this week’s BAW. I hope you enjoy our interview. If you want to check out more of her designs or purchase something click here.
HS: When did you first discover that you enjoyed making ceramics?
HL: In college at Syracuse NY probably around 1991. I had an inspiring professor that really created beautiful work that somehow made you feel surprised that someone could create such grand and beautiful work with his hands and some clay.
HS: What is your creative process like?
HL: If I have something new I want to make it usually exists in my head for some time. I do not do sketches…usually just go for it and make pieces in different sizes. If they feel like a successful shape I will glaze and fire to cone 10. But usually if I can tell it won’t work I throw away the piece and not even fire it.
HS: What is your favorite thing you’ve ever made?
HL: A small porcelain bowl I made during my residency in the South of France 10 years ago. It’s made of Limoges porcelain which is not possible to buy in the US since it is not imported. It feels special to me whenever I use it.
HS: How do your products differ from other ones on the market? Are there any challenges in working within a market that seems flush with similar products? How do you keep going if you find copy cats?
HL: I think the difference can be seen in my materials and experience. I use high fire stoneware for all my work which has a different feel and sturdiness than a low fire clay process. There are copycats for sure but I know my work still looks and feels uniquely mine and most people can see that.
HS: What is a typical day of the work week like for you?
HL: We keep a firing schedule at my studio so each day I have to do something to prepare work to get through the kiln firings. Or I am assembling wall hangings. I normally set aside a week to make a large batch of wall hangings. I lay out on tables 10 at a time and then start stringing them together one at a time.
HS: What is the process of making something for an installation like? Do you prefer making objects for specific places?
HL: It’s a process that I enjoy. Working with designers adds an interesting element to make them happy as well. Sometimes it’s a lot of explains what is possible and what is not possible with cone 10 ceramics. But all my large commercial commissions I am happy with and proud of the work.
HS: What kind of places do you find inspiration for your ceramics?
HL: Recently we visited the Museum of Anthropology and I was very inspired by everything. They have the most amazing collection of carved totems and endless inspiring works from all over the world that you can see the makers hand. Textiles with patterns, baskets with patterns, carved ivory.
HS: How can someone get started in your line of business?
HL: Have lots experience in the medium and good skills to communicate with clients.
HS: What is your personal style like and do you ever think that influences what you make?
HL: I have simple style, love for simple jewelry and small amounts of color.
HS: What brands/clothes/accessories are you attracted to?
HL: I love Zero, Maria Cornejo, Rachel Comey, and Levi’s. I do not buy a lot of clothes these days since most of my days are spent in a clay studio covered in something messy.
Thank you so much for your time, Heather! I loved talking with you.