Christiane Sutherland makes a gorgeous array of handmade dinnerware and stoneware from her home-studio in Phoneix Arizona. Organic in shape and texture, and using lead-free glazes, Christiane’s dinner-wear has particularly grown in popularity with a registry service that makes it so easy for the couples, plus their friends, to select a beautiful hand-made gift that will undoubtedly be loved.
Iced Vovo spoke to Christiane about her creations:
A: I got the pottery bug in High School. I always liked it but I only went back to pottery when I was 40! Never too late to start!
Q: Are you self-taught or have you also had some formal training?
A: No, I take classes at Ceramic studios in MAC – Mesa Arts Center , with great teachers. My degree is in Business and I have an MBA. I always worked at Hotels and I had a Hotel/Spa in Brazil. Pottery was my hobby. I only decided to do it as a business in 2011.
Q: There is a very organic feel to your pottery, is it most free formed or what do you use moulds for?
A: I do make my moulds out of plaster. I first use a roller pin to open the clay in the shape I want and they dry on top of the mould so the plates get the lip shape, but they are never the same format.
Q: You make dinner wear to platters and bowls and even stoneware jewellery – what do you love to make the most and why?
A: I love to make decoration bowls, the kind that you put your rock collection inside or shell collection or little treasures or plants. I can get really creative making those! Maybe one day I will be selling my work at famous galleries! But the dinnerware is great too! I like to imagine people receiving guests and eating out of my plates. I have clients that were so nice and sent me pictures of their Thanksgiving tables set up with my pottery! So sweet of them! I love to cook, and I think if you make plates you have to enjoy cooking!!
Q: What has inspired your designs?
Q: Nature for sure. Plants, rocks, colors of stones. I love being outside. We have chickens in my backyard!
Q: What is the most technically difficult piece to make and what makes it tricky?
A: It’s hard to make pottery in general here in Arizona because of the low humidity. I have to cover the pieces fast or they start drying so fast that it cracks! The same piece would take 10 days to bone dry in Brazil… and here it’s in that phase in 30 minutes.
Q: Your work seems to be mainly special orders – is it best for people to contact you with what they want made and what details do they need to give – for example how many variations in colour do you offer?
A: There is some ready to ship stock. I usually offer white glazes and off-whites (basic that goes with everything), Turquoise that is such a cool and different glaze you won’t find in any stores, but most of my tableware are mix-match.
Q: The Wedding Registry is a wonderful service – how popular has it become and how does it work?
A: May, June and July are as busy for me as Christmas. It’s great to be able to send the newly weds the gifts that they added to their wish list! It’s handmade! What a great gift to start your life with something that is not made in china this days!!
Q: What do you love about working from your home studio?
A: I get to see my kids grow and be there for them. I take them to afterschool activities, I pick them up at the bus stop, I’m here to help with homework and feed them. It’s priceless. My most productive time though is between 8-11pm. They are already in bed.
Q: Is the Etsy shop the only place people can find and buy your products?
A: I’m starting to sell at some shops now. In NYC, L.A. in California and in Phoenix. I’m trying to get a grant from Chase Bank that is $250,000 to help small businesses grow. I need 250 votes. https://www.missionmainstreetgrants.com/ People just have to put my name there to vote: CHRISTIANE SUTHERLAND POTTERY