June 28, 2016
Easy to Breathe
These ceramic pieces are a breath of fresh air! Easy to Breathe is the clay collection by Mariana Abaroa, an LA-based ceramicist who mixes in her creative intuition with ancient Native pottery techniques.
Where is the history behind your business name?
About a year ago, I had an urge to fully pursue my creative work, so I sold a number of my belongings that cluttered my garage. Soon after, I took the plunge – bought a ceramic wheel and began to throw in the empty garage. The moment I centered the clay, I realized I had been holding my breath the whole time and thought, “Isn’t this supposed to be meditative?” I realized how easy it is to just breathe so we can feel grounded and centered. Since then, clay has been one of my greatest teachers. That’s when Easy To Breathe was born.
Have you always been passionate about design?
Growing up I was influenced by my dad’s architectural work, where I learned to appreciate structural design and three-dimensional art. I found myself working with my hands; building and making things come to life from my imagination. Picking up a camera at a young age and seeing life through a lens also stimulated my eye for design.
Why did you start working in this particular craft?
After leaving Texas in 2012 and moving to Los Angeles with no plans, I decided to reach out for a job in a ceramic studio. All I knew is that I liked the feeling of clay but had very little experience in this craft. I worked in the studio for 2 years, teaching and learning all about the process. My connection to the healing elements of using self-expression through clay flourished. I couldn’t give it up so I decided to dive deeper and fully commit.
What do you think sets your designs apart from others?
My designs vary and depend on what my mind and soul are traveling through in each season of life. I like to describe each of my pieces as an object with a purpose, as soulful expressions with intuitive symbols, soothing tones and culturally influenced shapes. I think it’s safe to say I have a love affair with simplicity and detailed patterns, and I think that’s what makes my offerings unique.
Have you had any major failures? If so, what were some important insights gained?
Clay and trial + error are the best of friends. If there’s anything clay has taught me, it is to let go of expectations and overcome unexpected challenges or failures. Working with a fragile material and glazes with a mind of their own has made me more gentle and accepting in the studio and in life itself. When we embrace imperfections as beautiful surprises, nothing lets us down.
Have you sacrificed anything to create your business? If so, what was it, and do you have any regrets?
I’d have to say the only thing I’ve sacrificed is my free time. Some days get overwhelming but I continue to remind myself that it’s all a part of the journey. Being creative with how I balance my self-care and my work time has helped me out a lot. I enjoy every inch of energy put into my work and have learned to slow down and appreciate the time-consuming nature of clay. I’m grateful to love what I do every day, no matter what time or day of the week it is.
What has been your favorite moment since creating your business?
Meeting the people who take home my work will always be very special. I love listening to the stories that come up when buyers connect with my work. It fills me with gratitude when making a personal connection with someone who relates to my creative language and wishes to make it a part of their home and daily life.
How does your city influence your work?
Los Angeles has played a big role in my work. I never thought I’d settle in the speed of a city, but the motivation that thrives here has been extremely encouraging. From the innovative sense of community, to the wonderfully curated markets, to the hours spent in traffic enjoying the palm trees swaying and the mountain range glowing, I continue to find inspiration everywhere I go.
What valuable experience did you have before starting your business?
I had very brief knowledge on how to run a business or any of the logistics that come with it. All I knew is that my passion was strong and I was willing to learn the how’s and why’s along the way. Staying devoted to my practice and the lessons within has nurtured me as an artisan and a business owner.
What are some inspirations for your work?
My inspirations are driven from culture, nature and symbols. I’m always moved by the primitive craft of native pottery – from the ancient techniques, to the Navajo symbols and the Barro Negro aesthetic. I enjoy creating vessels with symbols as an offering to that sacred moment when you slow down your day and have a cup of tea. The sun impacts my work physically and intentionally, so I’m drawn to embrace the sun into my work, as well as the moon, the ocean, the mountains, the desert, foliage and the never-ending beauty of California’s terrain.
What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?
Manifest your vision. Surround yourself with other like-minded creatives and build community support. Keep your eyes on your path. No one else is going to make anything happen but you. Be proud of your story. It’s okay to start slow – nourishing the seed you’ve planted is what it’s all about.