Let’s play a word association game. What image comes to your mind when you hear the word “ceramics”? Let me guess. Did you think of clay spinning on a potter’s wheel? Some of you may have even thought of the movie-post worthy scene from the movie Ghost. While the use of a potter’s wheel is commonly associated with pottery, there are other ways to create pieces out of clay.
Andrea of Luna Reece Ceramics is a ceramics artist in Costa Mesa, CA. She creates fresh, whimsical and modern handcrafted pieces out of clay using, yes, the potter’s wheel at times, but mostly with casting molds and by hand.
When she was 7 or 8 years old, she got a toy potter’s wheel. She was hooked and took ceramics in high school. She’s always been a creative kid - always drawing and painting. When she went to college, she thought she was going to be a drawing and painting major, but when she got took her first ceramics class, she knew that clay was going to be her medium of choice. She ended up graduating with a BFA with a focus in Ceramics.
Upon graduating from Cal State Long Beach, she worked with an independent punk rock record label doing publicity and advertising. She says:
I thought this was a regular job I was supposed to do. It was safe. I didn’t really think of becoming an ‘artist’ even with a degree in art. But I realized after a few years that I really missed my art. I missed having that creative outlet. So I quit my job and started creating again. I started with painting because it was the easier to set up, but after a while, I realized that I missed working with clay so I started doing ceramics again.
When I pursued my art again, I did it without any agenda for it to become a business. I created to simply create. There was a breakthrough moment when I got into a craft show and began selling items in shops so the growth into a business happened organically and over several years.
I’ve done other forms of art, but I seem to always come back to ceramics. I love the feel of the clay in my hands. I’m very drawn to that aspect of it. With clay, it’s so tactile and I’m forming something with my hands. And after all these years, I still get excited when I open my kiln up. I’m like a kid at Christmas because I’m excited to see how each piece turns out.
What kinds of misconceptions do people have about ceramics?
Pottery is a long process. It takes several days to dry. It takes another 24 hours to fire it. And then there’s another glazing process. For one piece, although you create multiple pieces at the same times, it takes about a week or so. The process also depends on the weather. If it’s cold or wet it takes longer to dry and if it’s too hot then it can crack. People think, that you just throw it on the wheel and it comes out, but it takes time.
What do you consider to be beautiful work in ceramics?
I love all types of work with clay. When I go to the supply store, I have to touch it and feel the different clay and tiles. I look at piece and wonder how thick or thin did the potter wanted this piece to be. I also love the handmade quality of a piece. For the hand built pieces or even in painting the pieces, each of them look slightly different. The edges aren’t perfect. It’s not mechanical. There are bumps and grooves that give it an organic, human touch.
On her website, she shares her vision and heart, "I want people to have a piece that brings them joy so I try to design and execute pieces that are modern, fresh and can add life to a space. Light is the inspiration behind my paintings... the light that shines out of the fractured and the broken."
It’s satisfying knowing when you are doing what you’re meant to do. For Andrea, she has a deep connection to creating… a gut feeling, a passion that calls her to create.