MAKER SERIES // D: CERAMICS
Someone once asked me to create a post about all the different ceramic artists I buy from knowing that get a lot from local LA based ceramicists. Instead of putting all that information into one post, I really wanted to highlight each individual maker. What I find interesting about a one-on-one interview is that you get to delve into what inspires their work and the path they took to becoming a successful artist. Therefore, I’d love to welcome you to our new series simply called the “Maker Series”.
First up is someone I’ve admired for a long time now, Denise Lopez of D: Ceramics. I first came across Denise’s work at a ceramics market held at the Contemporary Craft museum on Wilshire. I was immediately drawn to the neutral colour palette, organic shapes and textured glazes that she uses. I’m so lucky to have a few pieces displayed in my home.
Like you, I’m not from the US. Where did you grow up, and what brought you here?
I was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico. I came to the United States to study Graphic Design in College at the Miami International University of Art & Design. After graduating, I lived and worked in Miami, New York, and currently in Los Angeles.
How did you get started in ceramics and did you always know you wanted to be a ceramic artist?
Not really, I took a ceramic class for fun when I was living in Miami, over 20 years ago and I fell in love with it. I did it for a few months, but had an opportunity to move to New York to work as a graphic designer and didn’t pick it up until five years ago here in Los Angeles. My neighbor was taking a class at a studio, and I joined for a few sessions. I wanted to explore another creative medium, and since then, I haven’t stopped. I got my wheel, a kiln, set up my studio in my home garage and ceramics became my passion. Working and creating with my hands has brought me so much joy. It really has taught me to slow down and to embrace imperfections.
Your colour palette and shapes are so beautiful and organic, where do you draw inspiration for your work?
Thank you, I get inspired by nature, the Caribbean beaches’ soft palettes, the sand, shells, the ocean and the California landscapes. I also love and get inspired by Japanese minimalism and mid-century designs.
As you know I have a lot of your pieces in my home, what is your favourite glaze or shape that you’ve created?
The White Salts & Sedona collections are my favorites, and I love that you have few from those collections in your beautiful home. I also love the wabi-sabi vases that I have been creating lately. They are fun to make and hand-paint with the textured white glaze. The more you apply it, the bigger the surface gets creating lovely designs. I think they look great by themselves or with minimal florals.
What would be one piece of advice you’d give to your younger self?
Don’t be afraid of the unknown, know your worth and explore different creative mediums.
Please can you give us one business tool you can’t live without?
I hate to say it but it is my iPhone, which I use as my camera for photographing my ceramics and Instagram for marketing. Instagram has helped my business grow tremendously.
Are you currently experimenting with any new techniques?
Most of my work has utilized the pottery wheel, but lately I have been experimenting with hand-building, using coils, creating more organic free forms—a more “wabi-sabi” look.
How do you find calm amidst all the chaos in the world right now?
Having a creative outlet has helped me a lot during these times. I find a sense of peace as soon as I sit at the wheel. My studio has been a haven. I feel fortunate that I have the space to disconnect and create.
What’s next for D: Ceramics?
I’m working on a line of a one of a kind “Ikebana vases” inspired by florists’ work that I admire. Ikebana is such a beautiful art form. They are like altars for your home using minimal florals. I’m also creating a table lamp collection, which I will launch in 2021.
A couple of shots of the pieces in my house.
Photos provided by D: Ceramics
Last two photographs by Jessica Alexander