Friday, August 11, 2017

interview with amelia from two hands full

If you can't tell by now, I am a huge lover of ceramics. I also love my hometown in southern Utah, which is surrounded by stunning red cliffs, red sand, and borders Zion National Park. Seems off topic, but this is what initially drew me to Two Hands Full. The owner, Amelia W Davis, has created a lovely collection full of earth-based tones and even a few ceramic bolo ties! The Redstone mug is my favorite, as it reminds me of my Zion home. I was intrigued to learn a little bit more about Amelia's background, and her passion for what she does is enviable! (and her logo is the CUTEST)

where did you grow up? did living in that area influence your work?

I grew up in a small town called Charlotte, in the Champlain Valley of Vermont. Being from a rural area, my childhood memories are (for the most part) outdoors - exploring and discovering what it was composed of. We had sheep, chickens, horses, dogs, donkeys, and cats- as well as an Osprey family who came to stay in one of our trees (til this day!) I owe a lot of my curiosity and deep love for the natural world to growing up here. I spent a few seasons working at organic farms in Vermont before heading out west, and I think that shaped me as an artist/craftsman in a big way. I believe that handmade pottery and vessels add to the food revolution in a sense of celebrating local farmers/food industry alongside local artists. 

what made you decide to start two hands full? 

I had been throwing and making pots as a hobby for many years until more and more people started asking to purchase pieces and I saw that it could be possible to start a business on the side. I never thought I would be doing this full time as it was difficult to wrap my head around this process being something other than an outlet...but here we are! I always knew I wanted to work for myself, but I figured it would be more in the field of environmental education or more in line with my environmental studies degree. One of my goals as a potter is to add to the discussion about what we put into our bodies and how. I believe that having well-loved vessels inspires the consumer to fill them with nourishing and perhaps more thoughtful foods/drinks. I love hearing from customers and friends who have drastically changed their eating habits since acquiring handmade pottery: not rushing out the door with a bagel in hand...or stopping for coffee in a paper cup at the last minute on the way to work...It has been neat to uncover more and more the role that craftsmen play in the environmental movement and where I wish to fit into that!

what other artistic hobbies did you try outside of pottery?

I have been working with my hands in creative ways my whole life: always sinking my teeth into some artistic endeavor. Many of which I still practice! Sewing, knitting, water coloring, natural dyeing, photography, woodworking, floral design, and blacksmithing have all played a part. I feel strongly about artistry playing into every aspect of life. I would also consider dressing myself each morning and cooking to be strong creative outlets for me. 

why has pottery stuck with you compared to other interests?

Pottery very quickly took over - and more specifically wheel throwing. I first loved how reflective it was, the centering process acting as a mirror into what was going on emotionally and physically. I found I would sink into this other state in order to tap into the clay and my hands working to form something alive. Making pieces that serve a purpose beyond their aesthetic, both in functionality and the mental/emotional ripple of the making process is powerful to me. I've been throwing consistently for almost ten years now and I cannot imagine a lifestyle without clay. 

what elements make an ideal workspace for you?

Natural light, fresh air, good shelving, tunes...I have been in a studio with a few friends that we established together (since the start of Two Hands Full), and I am finding more and more that I work best in a space to myself...where I can spread out, have it styled in a way that is true to me, and feel like I can really get into it. I don't crave the social interaction as much as I thought. 
I have a plethora of albums that serve me right when I throw- sometimes silence feels appropriate, or podcasts...but my recent go-to's range from D'Angelo, Grateful Dead, Tribe Called Quest, Abdulah Abrahim (Cape Town Revisited), Hiatus Kaiyote, Bonnie Raitt, and of course 2pac...

what has been the hardest thing about running your business? what has been the most rewarding?

I could list off the struggles and hardships of running a business, because there are many... but honestly, at the end of the day I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else. Being able to work for myself with all my heart is such a gift and something I feel strongly about. I feel like I am constantly working, whether it be in the studio, social media, answering emails, taking product photos, updating the website, planning fairs/markets, general organization, etc.. but the exciting news is that I will soon be taking on another member to lessen the smaller tasks!
I have found that I've grown so much in the realm of putting my compassion training to use. Self-compassion mostly, but for others as well. I am working actively on being less hard on myself in the midst of making mistakes or feeling like I'm not doing enough. The Instagram comparison thing is also real, and while I love Instagram and the community of people I have met/made good friends/connected can be trying. I think most people can relate to this. Alas, a wonderful obstacle to train the brain on self-compassion. 

do you have anything exciting coming up that you would like to share with our readers?

We are moving to Tacoma, Washington!! Very soon (first week of August)! I am looking forward to being back in a lush and womb-like ecosystem after being a desert dweller for the past 5 years and seeing how my pieces may shift and evolve with these new surroundings.

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