There seems to be an easy air of coolness around ceramicists, and Lucy Michel is no exception to this unspoken observation. With a background and degree in fine arts and photography, she's translated her eye for composition into handmade ceramic works inspired by California. We went to Lucy's studio space to get a glimpse of her practice, talk about inspiration, and the unpredictable path of creativity, meet Lucy!
After initially studying photography, do you think it informs or shapes your ceramic work at all?
LM: Yeah, totally. I've always been a very visual person. Aesthetic and style are very important to me. I think both my photography and ceramics have a modern and clean look. Nothing too fancy, with a little vintage throwback. Which sort of describes my personal aesthetic too lol.
What hidden gems of LA do you think everyone should go to or experience at least once?
LM: Museum of Jurassic Technology, Love Yoga, Reddi Chick in the Brentwood Country Mart (been going there since I was 2 years old), and the flea markets. To me California has the best vintage.
When did it click for you to start producing your work on a larger scale?
LM: When I realized how happy making ceramics made me, I knew I had to try to make it into something that made me money so that I could sustain and support my ceramics habit lol. I looked over all the work I had been making and made a linesheet and started sending it out to stores and craft fairs I loved. I very organically and slowly started to build my business. I had and still have a part time job which honestly took a lot of the pressure off of ceramics making me ALL my money. I always say it was the thing that freed me to really be creative.
Do you have any advice for creatives that are still trying to find their niche?
LM: My only advice is to stick to your vision and align yourself with other makers and retailers in your community that share your vision. The second I stopped making what I thought I "should" be making and was more true to my own creativity, things started to happen.
What part of creating your work do you love the most?
LM: I genuinely love every part of the process. It sounds super Pollyanna, but I still cant believe I get to do something that I love THIS much everyday and that people like it. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't want to be in my studio.
What are your favorite aspects of the creative community?
LM: I have so many! First, everyone I've met and worked with have been the nicest and most supportive people. I felt super embraced by the maker community. It's so inspiring to see everyone's work. Also most of them are women, which is dope. It feels super powerful to be in a community of women small business owners that are making art.
Printing in the darkroom is such a slow and methodic process, do you find similarities in your ceramic process?
LM: Totally. When photography became so digital, I lost my love for it. I like producing in an analog way. It's very mediative for me. Its the only thing in my life that totally turns my mind off.
What album or song never gets old?
LM: Right now I'm psycho for the Perfume Genius Too Bright record.
But all time Joni Mitchell Blue.