When and how did you know that ceramics was your jam?
Like many art students, I took a ceramics class in high school, and I was immediately smitten. The first time throwing on the wheel was a thrill, even though it was so darn tricky to get the hang of it. But I was driven by the love of clay and it’s limitless potential. I adore so many artistic mediums, but ceramics is where I found my voice.
There was a period of time before I graduated college when I didn’t have ready access to a ceramics studio, and I was missing my time with clay immensely. My hands needed to be in clay like my body needs food. I painted and refined my skills in the meantime, but as soon as I had the resources to put together my own studio, I got to work. I’ll be honest, there were times when I thought “I have no idea what I am doing” , (I say it a lot even now) but I can never let go of the feelings I have for ceramics.
Why is it important to you to create?
I honestly could not live without it. I come from creative people, I am friends with creative people, it’s an essential part of me. I do not feel like myself when I’m not working on, or have plans for, a creative project. I process the world around me through sight, sound and touch, making visual art a natural fit for me. But I always stress that creativity is not limited to art. The world needs creative people who don’t wait for others to tell them what to do.
Was there anyone along the way who helped shape you?
I’ve had many incredible art teachers, both in high school and college. My AP Art teacher took so much care into my college art school application and helped prepare my slides for my portfolio. He truly believed in his students ability to become professional artists. My parents have always been so supportive. I also made many connections in college that I still collaborate with to this day. I am so thankful for the privilege it was (and is) to have people in my life who are boldly pursuing their passions.
What’s your advice to women wanting to pursue the same thing?
Stay humble and don’t get in battles with the clay; the clay will win. 🙂 Give yourself permission to embrace every part of yourself, including your mistakes. Ceramics is one of the greatest teachers of patience, innovation, and radical acceptance – often though an intense process of trial and error. But the sense of accomplishment is immense, and hard work is always rewarded. I am still refining my skills and anticipate much more learning in the future.
You can find Besty here:
Ceramicist Art Print
You can find our Ceramicist Print by Libby VanderPloeg in our shop as a single print now or as the full Women Who Work print.
Or you can find all of the Women Who Work here!
Make sure to hang up the Ceramicist Print in your home to remind you of just how incredible you are at your work!