We are pleased to announce that our August 2017 Ohio Maker of The Month is Linnea Campbell Ceramic Art! This awesome Ohio artist creates her own functional ceramic art from scratch. We love her unique style and natural design elements such as insects and plants. This week we went behind the scenes with owner, Linnea Campbell, in her Cincinnati studio.
Tell us about your company.
I am the designer and creator of Linnea Campbell Ceramic Art. My work consists of one of a kind ceramic wares, using wheel throwing and hand building methods that I embellish with my illustrations of forest creatures: from microbes in the soil to insects and small mammals. Through my drawings, I want to celebrate and bring attention to these tiny creatures and the large impact they have on our world, creating pieces that provide a functional, yet whimsical, impact on people’s everyday lives. I work primarily out of my home studio on the east side of Cincinnati. I have been working part time at Queen City Clay in Hyde Park for the past 4 years and that is where I do the glaze firings of my work.
What drew you to your career path?
Since I can remember, I have loved making things with my hands as well as drawing and painting. I went to DAAP for Fine Arts focusing on 2D art but I felt I had hit a wall with the mediums I was using. After taking an intro to wheel class at Queen City Clay during my sophomore year, I fell in love with ceramics. When I started putting my images onto the pieces I was throwing, that was it. I haven’t stopped since. Whether it is a new technique, new clay or new glaze, I am constantly experimenting and I am always learning new things, which I absolutely love.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I have always wanted to be an artist and maker of some sort. Since I could hold a crayon I have been drawing and that passion has continued to grow in such a way that I want to spend my time making objects that are both beautiful and functional.
What is your process? (From concept to creation)
My process is to have lots of projects going at once. As I am waiting for one batch to dry, I can be working on a different batch of products. I enjoy bouncing back and forth between throwing and hand building throughout the day. The illustrations are also a major part of my work and I like to add a new group of images every so often. I usually take a week off of clay making and really focus in on the new drawings. I then get a silk screen burned with my new images and add that into rotation with my previous images. Once I have the silkscreen, I print with underglaze onto rice paper, which I then transfer onto my unfired pot.
What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?
To not worry so much about my future, working hard at your passion will ultimately pay off and is so rewarding in a number of ways.
What has been your favorite thing about your journey so far?
I love the connection between my work and the natural world that inspires it. As I continue to hone my craft, I am impressed with simplicity of combining organic shapes and forms with detailed images of nature to make inspiring pieces that people enjoy using in both functional and spiritual ways. I feel like I am only at the beginning of this journey and look forward to the many unexpected paths it will lead.
What has been the biggest reward of starting your own business?
Making connections with people that are just as passionate about handmade ceramics and the tiny creatures that I illustrate on them has been amazing! It has been so rewarding to create the things that I conjure up from my mind and then to find the people that will love using them.
What advice do you have for other women who want to start their own businesses?
I have had a number of female mentors in the maker community, which have been essential to me for advice and encouragement. In general, meeting other local makers and supporters of the arts has been so beneficial in expanding and growing my business.
What is your favorite thing about Exploring Ohio?
Ohio is really a beautiful state, with Lake Erie and the Ohio River on either side. I love kayaking on the Little Miami River, as well as hiking at State Parks. Cincinnati also has so many beautiful parks, most weekends I try to make it to a park for a hike with my puppy, Rufus.