One of the things I love most about blogging is how it allows you to meet some of the most amazing and talented people that you would likely never meet any other way. There are so many creative people all across Blogland and I'm constantly awed and amazed by their ingenuity and skill.
Lili from Fearless Nesting is one of those wonderfully talented people that I was lucky enough to meet through blogging. She was one of the first people to ever comment on one of my posts and she's been a faithful and supportive friend ever since. I've also become a big fan of her blog where she posts wonderful photos of her lovely home state of Maine along with yummy meals she makes with all of the fresh seafood she and husband Henri catch! And of course she shares her beautiful pottery and felted purses on her blog and through her Etsy shop!
In Lili's Fearless Nesting Etsy shop, you'll find some of the amazing and really reasonably priced Raku pottery she and Henri have created. You'll also find the beautiful and unique handmade felted purses she has for sale.
Lili and her husband Henri (pictured above) are both kind and generous souls, something you can tell just by reading her blog. And she has generously offered one of their beautiful Raku pottery bowls (pictured below) to one lucky winner along with an easel to display it on!! (Details for the Giveaway are at the bottom of this post) It is a gorgeous bowl and if you read Lili's blog you'll quickly find out that she has a real love of sea glass and collects it.
If you look closely at the photo below, you'll see bits of sea glass that she incorporated into the bottom of the bowl, how cool is that and wouldn't you love to win it?!
I got the chance to ask Lili a few questions about the pottery they create and about her wonderful purses, below are her answers.
1. How long have you been making pottery and what inspired you to become a potter?
In 1994, soon after we first became empty nesters, we began evening classes at Baker-Hunt in Covington, Ky. I don't think we set off to become potters, but eventually Henri's brother, Jeffrey, suggested we display some of our pieces in the downtown Cincinnati hair salon he managed, and people started asking about them and that's where we had our first sale. They were never advertised as being for sale, they were just part of the decor, yet we ended up replenishing the displays when much to our surprise, they started flying off the shelves for $20 a piece.
2. Do you have a studio in your home?
Yes, and it's a basement studio that we just recently infused with a funky mix of Old World dungeon meets up with outdoor French cafe on the Coast of Maine. It's such a fun place to hang out now, and I can't wait to host what I will call our first *Artsy, Fartsy Dessert Party* where we will get together with friends that want to do art together.
3. I see that you make mostly Raku pottery. Is there a reason you were drawn to making this type of pottery, and can you tell us a little bit about the process of making Raku and what makes it different from other types of pottery?
Raku differs from other traditional or functional pottery in that the glaze firing is done outside in the open air due to the amount of black smoke and fumes that occur during the process. Basically, you're taking a pot and bringing it up to 1900 degrees F. in a relatively short time (20 minutes) and then, while it is still glowing hot, removing it from the kiln with the aid of asbestos gloves and long handled tongs while wearing a respirator. It then gets placed into a garbage can, and with the addition of combustible materials such as leaves or sawdust, it quickly ignites into a swoosh of flames that completely envelop the pot. From there the lid goes onto the can, which begins the process of reduction, where the environment inside the can is starved of oxygen. This is what produces the brilliant flashes of coppers, lusters and crackles that raku is known for, as the chemicals in the glaze react to this starvation. Opening that can is a little bit like Christmas when you get to see how the fire worked it's magic on your final piece. That is why we were drawn to raku.
4. I love how you incorporate colors from the sea into your pottery, including sometimes adding sea glass, how did you get the idea to try this?
Somewhere in the process of learning about glazes, I learned silica was one of the ingredients in glaze, which is also the main ingredient of glass. That's when I got the idea of adding more glass into the pot to see what would happen. Also, Henri recently experimented with combining a couple glazes together that ended up looking somewhat like the pink granite found here along the coast of Maine, at least that's what came to our mind when we first saw them.
5. Where do you find inspiration for the pieces that you make?
As far as the shapes that form, we both kind of let the clay tell us what it wants to be. Clay has a memory, in that it will naturally take a similar shape to how it has been worked up getting it ready to throw. That may sound a little strange to someone who has never worked with clay, but it's the best way I can describe what happens on the wheel.
6. You also make beautiful felted purses, when did you start making these?
I made my first purse just last year.
7. Can you tell us a little about what goes in to making a felted purse?
Basically, you knit an over sized bag in wool, that when washed and agitated in hot water, will shrink and virtually obliterate any evidence that it was even hand knit in the first place. It hides a lot of knitting mistakes too. Then you attach your handles and embellishments, such as my hand made raku pendants, and ta da, a felted purse.
8. How many hours go in to making just one purse?
It varies depending on the size, but generally I can have one completed within two weeks, working on it in my spare time. I've never sat down and counted the hours though, it's a wonderful past time for making the most of time spent waiting.
9. Which do you prefer, felting or making pottery and why?
I enjoy them both equally. I like the ease of taking my knitting along with me, but I enjoy when I can stay home and have the time to work on pottery too. Both of them have that element of surprise at the end though, I think that's why I am drawn to both.
10. I see on your blog that you are taking up the craft of stained glass. Do you hope to add stained glass items to the list of things you currently sell on Etsy?
Oh heavens, no.
I would like to thank Lili and Henri for letting me showcase some of their beautiful wares and for their generous donation of their gorgeous Raku Bowl with Sea Glass for my latest Giveaway. Below are all the details about how you can enter to win this wonderful bowl!
***Sorry, this Giveaway is now closed, check back soon for another great giveaway!***
To Enter to Win...
1. Simply visit Lili's Fearless Nesting Etsy Shop by clicking HERE and then come back and leave me a comment letting me know what your favorite piece was.
The Giveaway will be open until Thursday, February 25th at Midnight PST. The winner will be announced on Friday, the 26th!
I'm linking up for Metamorphosis Monday with Susan at Between Naps on the Porch!