Eliana Bernard is a ceramicist based out of Austin, Texas. Her work has caught our eyes with their deep rich hues and gorgeous marbling.
Where did your business name come from? Is there an interesting history behind it?
My business name is my first name, Eliana. I knew when I started my business that I wanted to use my name to represent myself as an artist since my work and medium will evolve over time, but my first name won’t ever change.
Have you always been passionate about design?
Making art has always been a passion of mine and design is a very important part of that process. Since I started my business, I feel like I’ve refined my work and put more emphasis on designing products that are both beautiful and functional.
When/Why did you start working in this particular craft/field?
I began working with clay in college and fell in love with the medium immediately. I experimented with liquid clay and moldmaking, and loved every part of the process. Since then, most of my work is made by slipcasting – pouring liquid clay into plaster molds. Working with slip has allowed me to explore new ideas through a variety of techniques.
What do you think sets your designs apart from others?
I know what my material can do and I love pushing the boundaries to create something unique and visually appealing while maintaining its functionality. In the Marbled Collection, the pattern varies from piece to piece. Even with the process of slipcasting and using molds to produce a consistent form, every piece has it’s own pattern, making it truly one of a kind!
What has been your proudest/favorite moment since creating your business?
In Austin there is a annual art event called the East Austin Studio Tour, where artists open up their studios to the public and showcase their work. My first time participating in the tour was that fall after I graduated and it was an entirely new body of work that I made over the summer. I was very nervous about it, but the feedback was amazing! Everyone responded really well to my work and that experience helped give me the confidence I needed to get my business going. I opened up my online shop shortly after and I’ve continued to participate in the studio tour since then!
What valuable experience/knowledge did you have before starting your business?
I worked closely with other ceramic artists in my community, so I gained a lot of knowledge from seeing how they run their ceramic studios and what it takes to maintain a successful creative business. Not only did I gain more experience in working with clay, but I also learned the business side of being an artist.
What are some inspirations for your work?
I am inspired by color, textures/patterns, and shapes found in nature and in design. I love experimenting with slip and seeing how I can translate these elements into something tangible and functional. I’ve also found that through experimenting with the material, ideas can evolve into something great.
What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?
First, stay curious. It’s important to explore new ideas even if they don’t lead to something as grand as an entire collection. Just giving them a little light can spark other avenues to explore. Second, be versatile. As artists we tend to wear many hats and have to be a maker one day, a marketer the next. Finding a balance between the two will help to flourish your business. And lastly, enjoy the process—it’s totally worth it.