Friday, July 3, 2009

Ateliermarla Brings You Sunshine and Vibrant colors!

Leaf and Flower Coffee cup

Frutatta Coffee Cup

Blue Majolica Bowl

Grab your frozen mocha, herbal tea or bottled water and join us for another Summer Etsy Interview with the very creative ceramic artist, Marlene Gill or Marla as she is known on Etsy. Marla's shop Ateliermarla first caught my eye when I was searching for a Majolica style and colorful addition to my cup collection and I'm honored today to share this interview with you. Enjoy!

Q. Welcome Marla! The first thing that I notice when I visit your shop is vibrant color. Where do you get your inspiration for the color in your Majolica style pottery?

A. I guess it is from growing up in the Caribbean, surrounded by so much sunshine and vibrant colors. Vivid turquoise ocean, bright reds and oranges of the fruit and flowers - color is in my blood. When I started to paint, I had a hard time keeping my pallet subdued, so I just gave in and let my self go. The colors and style of my paintings were well suited to my majolica style of pottery, although it is a constant challenge to keep the reds and oranges from burning out in the kiln when I fire the porcelain and stoneware to cone 6. I mix the pigments with my clay slurry making a smooth slip which I paint directly onto the greenware prior to bisque firing. Then I cover with a clear shiny glaze and fire to cone six. So it is not the traditional majolica technique that I follow, but the finished style is similar as it is loose and expressive.

Q. I love that you decided to "let go" with your creative process. When did you first begin to become interested in making pottery?

About eight years ago I saw an advertisement for a pottery course given by Clay Crafters in Point Claire, West of Montreal. I always admired the skill of professional potters, but had no idea how difficult it was to master. I went through many disasters, and still do. For anyone who loves a challenge, I recommend pottery as a hobby. It took me months just to learn to center the clay!

Q. Yes, disasters seem to a part of any successful artist's exploration and it's inspiring to all of us that you accepted the challenge. How long does it usually take for you to create, say, a coffe cup with porcelain slips that you formulate yourself and are your items microwave safe?

A. . Generally, it takes me about 15 to 20 minutes to throw a cup. Trimming and attaching the handle might be another 10 to 15 minutes. Most of my designs are drawn free hand right on to the green ware. I have over 60 test tiles of colors that I have formulated from the pigments. I like to go through them, holding them and feeling the smoothness of the surface,then I place one next to the other until I have decided on the colors that I will be featuring on the particular piece. Then I start painting. This can take anywhere up to several hours. The final firing and glazing is done when I have enough pieces to fill my kiln. I am really trying not to be obsessive about the production aspect of the work...I do not wish to be constrained by the cost effectiveness of the time it takes to produce a piece - when I am happy with it, , it is finished. My glazes are food safe, and I favor stoneware and pottery over ceramic ware so that my work can be truly functional, and used without worrying about chips and breakage. They can be washed in the dishwasher, and put in the microwave. However, I have been lately persuaded to try a very good earthenware body so that I can explore a more vivid pallet of reds, and occasionally will work on very high fire china using china paints which I fire at a much lower temperature.

Q. Marla, you are such a talented artist, potter and business woman. I know we would all like to know your hopes and dreams for you shop and any new events or new items you have coming soon.

A. Thank you for your kind words, but you know, I still think of myself as a beginner. Since I am still working full time in the aviation industry, I "steal" my time in my studio. Right now I am having the greatest fun getting used to this new world of internet marketing and networking. It is wonderful, and I have met so many talented people from all over the world. However, I yearn for the day when I am fully retired and can devote all my time to developing my talent and my craft. My art is what really feeds my soul, and will always remain my first love. My goal is to keep learning, and to keep producing and to keep sharing. If my work can brighten a small corner of someone's home and they can share in my joy that I felt while producing it, then I consider that a very rewarding way to live.

Thanks so much for taking the time for this interview,Marla. We can all be inspired by your devotion to your craft and artitstic soul.

Visit the links below for more information on Ateliermarla and Marla's pottery.

Ateliermarla on
Become a fan of Atelier
Marla on Facebook
Follow Marla! Atelier Marla on Twitter

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