MEET THE MAKER: CLAY + CRAFT

Photo credit Clay + Craft

Photo credit Clay + Craft

With an eye for simple yet impactful design elements, it comes as no surprise that Nicole Novena of Clay + Craft was born into a family of makers. Growing up in Vermont, she learned her way around the potter's wheel at an early age. Throwing clay felt natural to her. When the opportunity arose for her to leave her marketing career of 10 years and turn to clay full-time, she leapt at the chance. 

While Clay + Craft was only started in early 2016, Nicole has been throwing for nearly 20 years. Nicole, who primarily works with white stoneware and the occasional brown stoneware, creates each piece either directly on the wheel or slip cast from an original design. She pours copious amounts of time and energy into every piece, sometimes taking several weeks to get to the final product. Her design process is an organic one, where the finished piece often varies slightly from its original design. Nicole puts great care into every cup, mug, bowl and vase. Her white stoneware carafe, which we will be selling, took nearly six months to perfect! 

Having recently relocated from Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida to San Diego, California, Nicole is looking forward to engaging with her new creative community on the West Coast. While trading one sunny spot for another may not seem like a big change, each and every move brings her a newfound sense of inspiration. We can't wait to see what the future holds for Clay + Craft.

Read our interview with Nicole Novena of Clay + Craft below:

Photo credit Clay + Craft

Photo credit Clay + Craft

S&A: What were you doing prior to launching Clay + Craft?
C+C: I worked in Corporate America... the telecommunications industry for almost 10 years, and while it made sense and was safe, I always felt I was taking the easy road and never felt completely fulfilled. (Sometimes I wish I could have just rolled with it as I made quadruple the income and did not have to work nearly as hard. =)) I held several different marketing positions from sports sponsorships to customer communications. My marketing experience has helped tremendously in making Clay + Craft a success. When we relocated to Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida in 2012, I changed jobs to one that eventually allowed me to work part time when I had my son in 2014. This provided me the time to focus on my ceramics. For over 10 years now, I dreamed of getting my ceramics to where it is today and to where I felt comfortable putting my work out to the world. While it took longer than I wanted for various reasons, I feel it was important to take the time to learn and grow.  

S&A: What's the biggest reward you take away from Clay + Craft?
C+C: I thoroughly enjoy making things... it's the way I'm wired, so I feel very lucky to be able to create something that others see of value. I also love interacting with customers and creating partnerships with other small businesses and like-minded people. 

S&A: How have the places you've lived shaped you as a fine artist?
C+C: I've lived in Vermont, Massachusetts, Denver, Seattle, Ponte Vedra Beach and now San Diego. At each stop I've found inspiration... whether it be a local business with lots of character, the natural landscape or community vibe. I wouldn't be doing ceramics if it weren't for where I grew up in Vermont, and I'm so thankful for that. 

S&A: What's your favorite thing about the creative community in San Diego?
C+C: Since I'm new to San Diego, I'm still learning about the creative community and other ceramic artists. I'm excited to live in a place that has a thriving and growing art culture. I'm looking forward to getting involved. 

S&A: From where do you draw your personal inspiration?
C+C: I've always been attracted to clean, simple, natural things. In high school, where I was first exposed to clay, I can remember the white specked glaze was my favorite and my teacher would encourage me to explore other options. I feel Clay + Craft is, in a unintentional way, a reflection of my path... my Vermont roots coupled with a modernness of today. My motto with my work is "less is more." 

S&A: What are some of your favorite spots in San Diego? 
C+C: I'm still exploring the area and love that there's so many places to enjoy. We're in North County so Blue Ribbon Pizza is a fav and I love Belly Up... it's such a great place to hear live music.