How would you describe your style? Are there any artists / designers that you particularly look up to?
I would describe my style as whimsical, cute, and delicate. The artists I'm influenced by include Salvador Dali, Dr. Seuss (if you haven't seen his fine art, you should look it up), and Daniel Merriam, among others.
What do you feel makes your work unique and truly your own?
What makes my work unique and truly my own is the love and care I put into every piece. I make a lot of similar items but they are all unique in some way and I love making each one. They all have their own "personalities", and I love seeing people connect with the one they choose to bring home with them. I call it an adoption, not a sale.
What sort of things inspire you? Where do you look for inspiration?
It's hard to say what inspires me because inspiration comes from everything, everyone, and everywhere. I never know what's going to spark an idea next. Right now I'm taking a sculpture class at Scottsdale Community College and seeing some of the other students' and my instructor's work has been inspiring. I also get a lot of ideas when I travel. Sometimes individuals are my inspiration, or a cool tree, or a cloud, something I read... you get it. I love the unpredictability of it.
When do you feel the most creative?
I feel the most creative when I'm with my partner chatting over coffee about the future and our plans. He's also very creative, but in a very different way than I am, and that makes us an amazing team. I think that's what people mean when they refer to their "other half." He thinks of things I'd never come up with and pushes me to try things I wouldn't otherwise. Partnering with him has been one of the best decisions I've made for Happy Kitty Ceramics so far and I can't wait to see where we go!
What is your creative process like?
Creating just one Happy Kitty mug is a very involved process. First all the individual pieces of the feet, face, ears, and tail must be formed. Sometimes I add a bow tie or tongue, too. Then I make a pinch pot for the mug, and assemble everything. After that, the mug has to dry slowly to redistribute moisture throughout the porcelain and prevent cracking. Then when they are bone-dry each mug is underglazed with its own unique design. The first firing process is called bisque firing, which semi-vitrifies the mug at a relatively low temperature (about 1900 degrees F) leaving it porous but less fragile than bone-dry. Then it's time to glaze the mugs and fire them again at a higher temperature to vitrify the porcelain (turn it into stone using high heat) and turn the glaze into the glossy waterproof surface of the finished piece. Each of those firings take about 8 hours. It takes a lot of time to make them, but now that I have help from my partner and can get higher volume batches done, the process is slowly becoming more efficient and sustainable on a larger scale. We're not quite ready to go viral yet, though.
What other products to you create?
I do more than just kitty mugs, too. I make nose mugs, alien planet mugs, and other animals upon request. I also sometimes make bowls and other vessels as well, when time permits. The Happy Kitty classic mug is our most popular item, but the Happy Kitty product line is expanding to other items as well. As we streamline the production process, I'll also begin to incorporate more fine art pieces into our inventory as well. I also create some small porcelain jewelry. I'm sensitive to metal and want to provide a jewelry line that others like me can wear without severe irritation. Stay tuned! Instagram will be the best source of new product sneak peeks.
Where can we learn more about you?
You can learn more about me, my partner, and Happy Kitty Ceramics by following us on Facebook (Happy Kitty Ceramics) and on Instagram @happykittyceramics.
Follow us and feel free to send a message through either of those profiles and you'll get a reply within a few days. Custom orders are more than welcome and we're looking for shelf space in local coffee shops, shelters, galleries, etc. to help make our items more accessible. We also have a very under-stocked Etsy store. Product has been selling out before I can list it. Our Website is coming soon!
Also, Happy Kitty mugs will be available at Fearless Kitty Rescue in Fountain Hills in the very near future. If you're looking for a new pet and maybe a coffee mug, they'll both be available there. Part of the proceeds in a mug purchase at their facility goes back to the Fearless Kitties and supports their no-kill shelter.