There is something very special about handmade items. Makers put pieces of their souls into everything they craft with their hands. You can really feel that energy. Unique one-of-a-kind goods are worth much more than mass produced soulless products. We want to honor the Makers and Artists of Ohio by featuring them in our new Ohio Made blog series!
RHEINOceramics is one of our favorite local Makers. This girl has pure talent. She makes beautiful handmade ceramics with a modern twist. We were lucky enough to go behind the scenes with Jessie Rienerth, the Boss Lady of this Cincinnati brand!
Tell us about RHEINOceramics.
Rheino Ceramics is my small (side) business that I started a couple of years ago where I create small- batch, functional ceramics. I am an artist that graduated from UC’s DAAP program with a BFA and I found such a rich clay community in Cincinnati that it seemed silly not to stick around for a while after graduation. I am a full- time production supervisor at Rookwood Pottery in Over -the- Rhine, but Rheino is a better example of what I love to do. All of my work is created at my studio space in Lower Price Hill that I share with a few other artists.
What drew you to ceramics?
I was drawn to Ceramics because of the community aspect of the material. Clay is extremely complex and broad with the amount of possibilities available. If I didn’t have my clay friends that graciously offer up knowledge and support, I wouldn’t be able to make half of the work I have created thus-far. I will never get bored of this material. It keeps me on my toes and I love that more than anything.
Where did the name Rheino Ceramics come from?
Rheino comes from a mix of things. Mostly, it’s a nod to my Dad. Our last name is Rienerth, so his nickname with his friends is Rhino. Both of my parents are the best people in the world and my Dad has always been such a wonderfully stable person in my life. I also wanted to play with the word “rhine” due to the Cincinnati location.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be so many things! I’ll try to remember everything. Superhero, basketball player, priest (when I was like 6), librarian, fire-fighter, pilot, chef, and I also thought pretty hard about architecture in my High School Days. Art therapy was also a thought.
What is your process?
My process all depends on making. The more I make, the more ideas I get and the more organic the process becomes. I don't sketch much, and I find more satisfaction with just making a plain cylinder and going from there. Pushing my craft and the forms I make is the best way for me to grow. Same goes with the surface decoration. Testing is the best part of the process and the material.
What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?
Ten years ago I would tell myself to just do what you really love. I know that sounds cheesy. I would not have stressed out half as much about the impending future after high school if I knew that just working really hard at something I really love would bring me this joy. There was just too much unnecessary worrying when I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do in school. If you really want something, you'll make it work.
What has been your favorite thing about the Rheino Ceramics journey so far?
My favorite thing about having Rheino is the people I have met. The community is so supportive of local makers and other makers are also extremely supportive. Makers are the best people you will ever meet.
What has been the biggest reward of starting your own business?
The biggest reward of having my own business is just having the ability to make my work. I am able to feed a part of my life that has to be there. My goal when I graduated from UC was to just keep making work. I know I am going to be ok as long as I am making.
What is your favorite thing about Exploring Ohio?
Being from Cleveland, I love that I have experienced of the two opposite poles of the states. Lake Erie will always be one of my favorite places, but there are so many other great things between the Ohio river and the lake. Mohican, the metro parks, Hocking hills, Yellow Springs, etc., you can't get bored with this place. There is a great balance of growing metropolitan areas and the cities with the awesome parks and trails throughout the state.
Follow Rheino Ceramics on Instagram at @rheinoceramics!