Meet the Makers showcases artists, creative entrepreneurs, and up and coming brands throughout Los Angeles.
I didn't get to meet Carla face to face until long after I had admired her work. I was first introduced to her clean black and white geometric designs on her ceramics and was instantly intrigued. Is "modern folk" a term? What about something like "minimal indigenous"? Neither of those was quite right, but there was something innately spiritual in her designs, like generations of South American art were naturally and intimately there at her fingertips as she threw pottery.
When we finally did meet, I was greeted with a bubbly personality full of passion and energy, yet incredibly humble. She rides a balance between a traditional, scholarly ceramic background and rigorous creative expression. It's clear she's both deeply rooted and precise, yet flowering and inspirational at the same time.
So of course we wanted to share a bit about her process and background as a fellow maker.
Tell us in your own words what is your design aesthetic and how is that reflected in your ceramics?
My designs have multiple aesthetic attributes; sometimes clean, modern, and geometric, other times organic, intuitive and fluid. My multicultural family and life have directly inspired me; growing up in my parent’s house their home was filled with beautiful Italian and Peruvian ceramics, textiles and furniture. The geometric patterns I use are very much inspired from the Peruvian works. My love of modern and contemporary art, and the natural and urban landscape of Los Angeles are reflected in my clean simple forms and shapes. I like to make choices for aesthetics as well as for function. I use both the wheel and hand building techniques to create my art. Throwing on the wheel allows me to create symmetrical pieces, which I can then carve into and create my geometric patterns. Hand building with slabs helps me to create sculptural and architectural forms, while coil building lets me create organic forms that I build intuitively. I love learning, and clay has endless possibilities, which is very appealing to me. You can spend your whole life studying it and never learn everything there is to know about it. That’s one of the things I love about it, you can never get bored with clay. It is a material that keeps you humble.
What made you get into ceramics in the first place?
When I was at Pasadena City College I had a friend who was taking a ceramics class. I would stop in to see her, and the instructor Phil Cornelius would let me work on the wheel even though I wasn’t enrolled in his class. I instantly fell in love with clay, so I decided to take his class; I was hooked. I decided to continue studying it when I transferred to the San Francisco Art Institute. I got my BFA in painting and an unofficial minor in ceramics. I took every class that was offered in clay and then became the student lab tech.
What makes your ceramics different?
Because I’ve studied and taught ceramics, it has really honed my technical skills in clay. I feel I have a strong foundation in the material, and that allows me to manipulate it to create what I want. Knowing the foundation of this material helps me when I am designing my work, so that the form and the function work well together. I create all of the designs. All my work is handmade, so each piece is it’s own unique creation. While some pieces will be similar, no two pieces will ever be exactly the same. I love beautiful things, and I want my work to be beautiful and pleasing to the eye and to the feel, but I also want my work to function well.
In the next three years where will you see your ceramics go?
Well first off, for 2018 I have a few collaboration projects lined up with other artists. I am really excited about that, and look forward to future projects with other artists and makers. Sharing knowledge with other artists helps reinforce ones own abilities and skill level and there is always other ways of approaching things that you can learn from other artists. Other than that I would like to being doing more workshops, be teaching more, and grow my current operation and get into more stores.
Tell us a bit about your past that got you to this point.
It all started in 1992 with those pivotal courses at Pasadena City College, which in turn led to the intense studies at San Francisco Art Institute. When I graduated I was making art and supplementing my income with a restaurant job. I quit my job in the restaurant industry and then delved 100% in surviving as an artist. I had some various private art teaching jobs and I taught at Plaza de la Raza in their ceramic department. I also, at this time, set up my first bare bones ceramic studio. I shortly there after had an opportunity to become the lab tech and instructional assistant at East Los Angeles College. After 4 years there I realized that I needed to take the next step, dedicate all my time to my art and I started Tome Ceramics.
(Photo Credit: Nicki Sebastian)
Anything else you would like to share?
I really believe in using handmade objects in our everyday life, it adds another level of enjoyment to our daily experiences. I am always open to commissions and collaborations, so please feel free to reach out to me on my website or Instagram.
(Opening Photo Credit: Eric William Pierson)