Saturday, March 21, 2009

Inspired by A Love for Chicago - Interview with Nancy & Andy of Circa Ceramics

One of my all-time favorite Etsy shops is Circa Ceramics. I just love all the bright colors, the super fun graphics and the modern shapes they use. I was so excited when they agreed to detail the inspiration behind one of their pieces. So without further ado, here's what they had to say about the inspiration behind these lovely Chicago Flag Bowls ( you can also find Chicago Flag Tea Cups here):

What's the inspiration behind this piece?

Our love of Chicago. This city gets such flack everywhere, it's really sort of comforting whenever we see an artist/artisan/crafter come up with city representing pieces. We wanted to be one of those artisans.

When we came out with our logo, we thought that adding the city where the creation of our pieces took place was enough to show pride (and it is to an extent - People seek us out because we are making ware in the city and brand it as such), but what really set us off was the commercially manufactured souvenir cups we saw online at a boutique here in the city. There's something that's just not right about buying a cup (in our case) to show your city pride, that has no real connection to the locale other than it did make it to the shop shelf it sits on.

Our posting those 16oz bowls on Etsy also coincided with the February 10th Forbes article claiming Chicago was the 3rd worst city to live in - We got a lot of comments on them, all positive - So we know it soothed some a bit!

Can you detail how you translated your inspiration into your work of art?

Our city flag is quite simple & lends itself to many incarnations, and the colour palette is limited - So the transition from 2D to 3D object was easy. I did try to paint the stars at first, using a stencil, but the crispness of a screenprinted image is what was needed, so we went with that instead, and I'm glad we did because it makes a huge difference.

Where do you tend to find inspiration for your art pieces?

Honestly? For both of us, lately it's usually when we see something and immediately decide it needs improvement - It can be from looking at one of our own pieces, or something we see or hear about.

Right now, the lack of colour in tableware out now is what is driving us to come up with colourful designs/layouts. This may also make it to the screenprinted imagery, but we'll see :)

Any advice for someone feeling uninspired?

Take a look around you - See what other artists/designers/crafters/artisans are doing with their work now (not necessarily in your medium) and then look at your work - Write or sketch any and all thoughts that pop into your head - Try not to censor your thoughts! Often, this kind of research shows refreshing insights, and when you take the time to refine them, more things pop into your head.

If an artist/designer/artisan/crafter you like and admire has a blog, go read it - Many times, they write about their creative slumps, and it is comforting to know that it happens to everyone at some point in their endeavors; you may even read about how they pulled themselves out of it - It can be very inspiring & motivating :)

See more Circa Ceramics goodies in their Etsy Shop and be sure to check out their blog too!

Here are some of my favorite Circa Ceramics pieces.

I love that Circa Ceramic's bowls were inspired by the love for their City! Take some time this week to think about where you live and how it can inspire you. Don't just take in the visuals of your surroundings, but go a little deeper. Look at what makes your city, town, suburb, etc.. unique. What do you love about it? What do you hate about it? What would you like to change about it? What are some of the stereotypes and misconceptions surrounding your city, town or suburb? What is the history (good & bad) behind your city, town or suburb? How has it changed over the years? Create something from the answers to these questions.

Can't get enough of Chicago? Check out more Chicago artists found through the "Shop Local" tool on Etsy. Also the ChicagoStyleCrafters/IL Street Team has a Windy City Sampler Bag for sale! Yep, it's a little Taste of Chicago all bundled up in a handmade recycled paper bag :) and it includes some Circa Ceramic goodies!
Get your's here:

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