Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Interview: Paasch E Pottery!

Every once in a while, a seller on ArtFire REALLY strikes my fancy, and I decide I want to do an interview. Here's my interview with PaaschEPottery! Please share the love and visit her links! :)

Tell me a little bit about yourself- your inspiration, your life story, your passions...

My name is Erin Paasch. I'm 24, happily married to a man who swears he's not artistic (though I know better), and obsessed with pottery. Seriously. Obsessed. If I'm not drooling about another artist's work or making my own, you can tend to find me pawing disapprovingly at friends' and relatives' mass-produced work and talking about how their stuff is so much more likely to break because it's cast and the clay molecules aren't as compressed as they should be for functional work.

Also, I might be a horrible friend and/or relative to have.

Why did you select pottery as your artistic medium?

When I went into art school, my portfolio was filled with drawings and paintings. It was what I was certain I was going to do for the rest of my life.

I don't know if you know what it's like to be at a prestigious art school, but it's not easy. They make you try out several new mediums while still doing the medium you wanted the most. We were putting out paintings and small sculptures every 2-3 weeks. I quickly learned that although I enjoyed painting, it wasn't enough of a passion that I wanted to do it day-in and day-out like this. I got burnt out.

At the same time, I was planning and getting ready for my wedding. Because we were on a tight budget, the soon-to-be hubby and I ended up making a lot of our decorations: The flowers, the cake topper, even the wedding invitations. Unlike the painting, doing all of this work and making these small crafts thrilled me.

Here's a picture of him and me. You can see the bouquet in my hand and the boutineer on his suit that we made.
Anyway, when I returned to college the next year, I knew I wanted to work in 3D. I tried out different mediums, and settled from there on wheel throwing. I liked how responsive the clay was, it was almost as fluid as paint, and how challenging it was as a medium.

I love the colors you blend on your wares- how do you come up with the color combinations? Where do you draw inspiration from?

I actually have to credit this to my husband. Glaze is tough to control because when you put it on a form, it's just watered down minerals. It isn't until after it comes out of the kiln that you can actually see what those minerals turn into. Add the fact that several things can affect these glazes, like how you layer them, the type of firing you do, etc., and it becomes extremely challenging. I myself took a semester-long course just to understand how to use and test glazes effectively.

My husband was interested in learning, so I taught him the basics on how to test glazes, tweak recipes, and take good notes. Less than a month later he came up with a gorgeous glaze combination that I couldn't accomplish in 3 years. Maybe it's beginner's luck, maybe my hubby is just that damned good.

I see that you're making buttons! Why did you decide to try that? Are beads in the near future?

Sometimes I get really frustrated with the wheel. No matter how good you are at it, you're still going to have that day, or week, or month, that you're just off. Sometimes it's just a small thing and you can blow it off, but a short while ago I was having an off 2 weeks.

I've found that the best thing to do when I am in a rut like that is just to build by hand. By the end of a few days, I'm rearing to go on the wheel again. And yes, I am working on a few bead designs ;)

Why do you use a wheel? Tell me about the process! :)

I love how instant the wheel is. When you're hand-building, you're building something up little by little, layer by layer. But with the wheel you can make the main part of a form in as little as 20 minutes. Sure, there is more to it than that -- the wheel alterations, adding handles, glazing, and that adds up, but because the main form is pretty much done right away, I can make several of the same piece with just small differences. This allows me to be able to constantly evolve my work and make very good, functional pottery.

What other creative endevors do you enjoy doing? Do you scrapbook? Crochet? Bead?

Every year, my friend over at Naked Light Bulbs and I have a sale together. To help out, I help her crochet her simpler dolls -- like bees or bear heads, for her to put them together.

For the most part though, I keep to the pottery. Every now and again I'll catch a bug and have to draw, paint, or maybe even make jewelry, but in the end, I love clay most of all.

What new skill would you love to learn?

Carpentry would be nice. I need more shelves to hold all of my pots! Seriously though, I've always wanted to make large mosaics and being able to construct furniture to make them on would be an amazing skill to have.

Did you go to school to learn your art, did you take classes or are you self-taught? If someone helped you with your journey, please tell me about them!

Well, I think I mentioned this already, but I went to college. The School of the Art Institute of Chicago -- you know, the big art museum? That's where I spent 4 years.

Although it helped me discover what I wanted to make and where I wanted to go with my art, I was surprised to find that I learned a LOT more about pottery out of college. When you're in a class and not trying to sell your work, you don't think about how to make multiples of work or where to order glazes and materials from. I feel like after college I've pushed my work so much more and learned so much more just having to deal with the real world while making work.

Do you enjoy what you do?

If I didn't, I wouldn't be here.

What is your least favorite part of being an online arts seller on ArtFire?

This isn't just limited to ArtFire, but it's so frustrating to hear people say how much they love your work time and time again, but you don't make a sale for over a month. It starts to make you wonder if you're doing something wrong.

I've joked more than once that when I was in High School and college and making work that wasn't for sale, everyone wanted to buy it. But the moment I actually put a price tag on the stuff, everyone walked away.

What is your favorite part of being an online arts seller on ArtFire?

The community. Hearing from so many other artists, seeing people help each other out and promoting for others. It's amazing.

How do you balance work/making stuff/play/family/pets?

With plenty of naps throughout the day.

What's your favorite snack while you're working and why?

I've found it's best not to snack when your hands are full of clay. It makes everything taste chalky.

Any suggestions for other sellers out there?

Actually, if some sellers had any suggestions for me, I'd appreciate it! I'm so new at the whole online thing, I don't feel qualified!

Seriously though, I'd say to try and keep all of your options open. I'm not just selling work online, I'm also selling wholesale or through commission with local stores, submitting work to galleries, and selling at arts and crafts fairs. It's a lot of work, but I'm having a lot more success selling in several ways than just one.

Please link me up! Blog, twitter, facebook, myspace, etc!

(Shop) http://www.artfire.com/users/PaaschEPottery
(Blog) http://paaschepottery.blogspot.com/
(Facebook) http://www.facebook.com/pages/Paasch-E-Pottery/145926675469995?sk=app_106171216118819
(Twitter) http://twitter.com/#!/PaaschEPottery

Special promotions for blog readers? Any specials you'd like to share?

Right now I'm running a sale as part of ArtFire's XMas In July Event. I have 25% off all of my inventory, and at the same time I'm running a contest to encourage people to help me advertise my sale.


  1. Thank you so much for taking the time out to interview me. I think my cheeks will be red for the rest of the night!

  2. Read my Blog! NEWBIE FRIENDLY

    I enjoyed the reading the interview. Have never worked with paints or clay currently. Gives me a bit of insight. Thank you.

    Heaven's Creations

  3. read my blog , heritagesdecouleurs... years ago a worked a lot woth clay, I like your buttons... maybe one day I´ll follow classes ...

  4. Swap-bot. Read my Blog!


    I love your wedding photo, you look absolutely gorgeous. Also, love that you have a cat called Moe- my daughter is called Mo!

    It's interesting that you're so interested in creating pottery. It's not a medium I've really ever explored much, but I'd love to have a go sometime.

    Wishing you all the best, and happy swapping.

    Laura x

  5. Hi there. I visited your blog fot the "read my blog swap"

    Really interresting inteveaw, and those buttons are adorable, need to get my hands on them :)



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