Get to know a local handmade artisan

Ceramicist ‘utterly obsessed’ with her craft.

Name: Chelsea Hall of OH! Clay Collective

Hometown: Union, Ohio

What you make: I’m a small-batch ceramicist who takes inspiration from vintage patterns to create modern jewelry and homeware designs. I like to describe my art as ‘70s-wallpaper inspired.

Your process: While I do have a studio in downtown Dayton for my photography, Chelsea Hall Photography, I currently work on my ceramics from home. At first, I had to schedule hobby time into my calendar and would take wheel and hand-building classes at Rosewood Arts Center once a week. Once I got used to building “me time” into my schedule, I started to visit Rosewood 1-2 times a week for open studio time. After building up my skills and becoming utterly obsessed with the craft, I slowly started to build up my tools at home, and I’m now able to work from my basement, garage or my couch if I’m binging an exciting Netflix series (LOL).

To keep the excitement alive, I like to work on pieces when I’m feeling inspired and currently prefer making small-batch designs. As a neurodivergent who struggles with PDA, I believe that taking on commissions would ruin the joy I receive every time I work on or finish a piece.

What you love most about making: I started ceramics as a way to cope with anxiety and grief. In October 2020, we lost my grandmother and found out my mother had stage 4 cancer all in the same weekend. It was nearly too much to bear, and I was desperately seeking a therapeutic artistic outlet. I started taking ceramic classes in 2021 and I found what I had been searching. I love making, because when I have a ball of clay or a paintbrush in my hands, my brain quiets, my anxiety and grief fall to the wayside, and I’m able to find a moment of peace.

Your most interesting project: As of now, I think my most interesting ceramic project is slip casting. I acquired a plaster casting mold collection from an older potter who was retired and no longer had a need for her molds. They had been sitting in her basement for a couple of years and needed a new home. I purchased the lot and have been slowly pouring the molds and bringing the vintage designs back to life. Most of the molds are from the 1950s through 1970s and match my aesthetic perfectly.

The next project you want to tackle: The next project I want to tackle is learning how to make my own 3D printed designs and using them to make plaster molds that I can use in slip casting. I joined the Westside Makerspace and purchased all the materials, now I just need to build in the time to start!

Words of wisdom for other makers: Just get started. If there is a craft or skill you want to learn, you need to schedule the time into your calendar now. Just like going to the gym, if you don’t schedule the time for your creative interests, you’re never going to get better.

Also, it’s never too late to pivot or start something new. My goal is to learn and master something new every decade; my 20s was photography, my 30s ceramics, and I can’t wait to see what my 40s has in store. I hope to never lose the drive and excitement for learning, and I hope you never lose it, too.

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