Meet Erika Gibson, one of my favorite North Carolina potters and all-around lovely friend. (You might remember her from her Greenville, N.C. travel guide or watercolor postcards.) Erika makes stunning ceramic ware (in all my favorite colors, mind you). I really admire Erika’s talent, work ethic and approach to creativity. Plus, she is one of the bubbliest people I have ever met! I hope you enjoy getting to know her! // susannah
1. How would you describe Erika Gibson?
I make pottery that delights. After being wheel-thrown in small batches and trimmed with great care, my ceramics are glazed in a wonderfully mixable palette. At the moment I have a small selection on my website, but each month I’m releasing new products out into the wild. I also do commissions.
2. What were you doing before Erika Gibson? What inspired you to change paths?
I grew up in a very creative family, and was always encouraged to follow that path as well (if that was where I wanted to go).
However, I focused on design for years. I started with my first single-page website when I was nine, and I learned Photoshop when I was ten. I had a small screen-printing business when I was in high school, and after I graduated I started freelancing brand and web design.
After always being fascinated with pottery, I finally took a class last spring and just fell in love. Within the first week, I knew I’d found my ‘thing’.
3. When ideas are scarce, where do you turn for creative inspiration?
If I’m at home, I look at Instagram. There’s a great collection of potters that share such gorgeous work of all sorts, it’s hard not to be inspired.
If I’m at the studio and I’m stuck, I’ll start throwing small vases. Bud vases and flower vases can be so varied in shape, it’s fun to try to make each one completely different from the last. And sometimes it leads to a new idea for a totally different product!
Click through to read the rest of my Q&A with Erika Gibson!
4. Describe your workspace.
Currently I work out of a communal studio space a few towns over, but I’m working to bring my studio home. I hope that it’ll be a little less stressful to schedule work time when I don’t have someone else’s business hours to cater to, but having to drive pottery thirty minutes to the kiln to be fired is definitely nerve-racking.
5. What have been your biggest successes and challenges for Erika Gibson?
My first sales and my first commissions by someone I wasn’t friends with!
Now I’m working on broadening my reach online. With a new online store, it can be hard to build up that initial customer base.
6. What are your dreams for Erika Gibson?
I’m looking forward to the day when online sales are relatively constant. I love my part-time day job — I’m the Ceramics and Gallery Technical Assistant at a community college — and I don’t intend to leave that any time soon, but not having to panic during the time between semesters would be wonderful.
7. Who do you look up to?
As far as pottery, Tortus Cophenhagen, Foxwares Ceramics and Sheldon Ceramics. I have a few friends that I would like to be like when I grow up — they’re fantastic and encouraging and everything I hope to be one day.
8. Where and how do you love to spend your time off?
Right now I dedicate Sunday afternoons to rewatching some of my favorite shows (Buffy, Fringe, and Jane the Virgin, currently) with friends. It’s the one time I sit down and don’t worry about what’s on my to-do list. (Sundays also get a little baking or knitting, depending on my mood.)
9. What resources do you recommend to someone whose dream job is your job?
The Craft and Art of Clay: A Complete Potter’s Handbook by Susan and Jan Peterson. There’s a show on BBC called The Great Pottery Throw Down that I’m am absolutely thrilled about, I hope it goes well. Otherwise, Instagram. Try #ceramics, #pottery, #potsinaction, and #instapottery to start with.
10. If you weren’t running Erika Gibson, what would be your dream job?
I honestly don’t know. I feel like I’ve always been on this exact path. I would probably want to do something with animals — not veterinary-based, though, as I hate to see them sick or hurt.