How did you get started making pottery and what inspired you to turn it into a career?
I started taking pottery in high school as an art elective and was totally obsessed after the first class. It honestly never occurred to me that I could possibly make a living as a potter. I worked as a freelance set designer in fashion and advertising for 20 years, while making ceramics in my free time. I started selling work to a few stores and designers in Los Angeles, and over the years the demand became such that I decided to give it my full attention. I felt like it would be better to try and fail rather than to stay on the path I’d been on.
What’s your creative process like?
My work is very much focused around form and proportion. I’m a minimalist at heart and the more scaled back and refined a form can be, the better. Generally, I’ll sketch a few forms out on paper, and then throw a family of shapes that relate to each other. When I find a form that really sings, I’ll typically try and throw it again. The work tends to evolve this way.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
For direct inspiration for my work I refer to the works of craft masters from the past in pottery, wood turning, basketry, and weaving. Mid-century ceramic artists like Gertrud and Otto Natzler, Lucie Rie, The Marzs, Shōji Hamada, and anything made by the Bauhaus school really gets me excited. I also particularly love the works of pre-modern traditional cultures from all over the globe. Some of it can be so “modern.” Indirectly, travel and nature are huge inspirations. Being somewhere new, looking closely at anything from a stone at the beach to tree bark or a feather, I’m reminded that subtlety is truly beautiful (not boring!) Being outside in nature is really energizing to me and when I get back to the studio I’m excited to throw. I feel incredibly lucky to live and work in Altadena where access to nature is so nearby.
Your studio is in Altadena; any favorite spots you like to go to/shop/eat at?
Prior to our “stay at home” lives that we now live, I’d enjoyed some very special local spots. There’s still so much to discover! To eat/drink: Café de Leche, Lincoln, and Pizza of Venice are all wonderful Altadena spots, and in Pasadena—Seed Bakery, Settebello Pizzeria Napoletana, The Luggage Room, Union, and Maestro are all really top notch. It’s been exciting to see new, non-chain restaurants open up and thrive in the area. I hope both Altadena and Pasadena are able to continue in that direction. As far as shopping goes—my neighbors on Mariposa in “Old Town Altadena” are pretty impressive. There are the custom-made hats (Wellema Hat Co.), stationery (Carciofi Design), beautiful flowers at Mary Falkingham, and Ben McGinty’s well-curated antique and art gallery. Even the family-owned hardware store is great!
What’s next for Victoria Morris Pottery?
Well, there’s a lot up in the air these days, but if I think optimistically and things normalize relatively soon, then I’d like to open up the studio/storefront more regularly for events and sales. In the meantime, I’m updating my online store far more often and hoping that as we’re all at home, some people might want to enjoy a handmade work of functional art and support a small business at the same time.
For more information on Victoria Morris Pottery, visit victoriamorrispottery.com.
Photos by: Pine and Palm Journal