November 2, 2015
New York truly has some of the best ceramic artists around, and Elizabeth Benotti is no exception! Her pieces will be available at our New York Holiday Fair in just a couple of weeks!
Have you always been passionate about design?
Ever since I was a kid I was into making art, whether it was sewing, origami, or making friendship bracelets. Throughout the years I’ve found my niche in clay. Now I create a variety of pieces with different functions for the home. The malleability of the clay and endless possibilities keeps my interest high.
When/Why did you start working in this particular craft/field?
I dabbled with clay as a kid, but it was my first throwing class in college where I discovered my heightened interest in the material. Among the other mediums I was studying, I found myself spending all my extra time in the ceramic studio. I grew a quick interested in it because it was very hands on. I also feel like I can relate to the function of the work that I make because of my love for gardening and cooking. It is satisfying to created a piece that I can use in my everyday life.
What do you think sets your designs apart from others?
Everything one makes is an extension of one’s self. Colors, patterns, textures, and forms that I see all around me are inspiration. My interpretation of that will naturally comes out in the work. It’s the bold patterns and fun colors that set my work apart.
Have you had any major failures? If so, what were some important insights gained?
When I started my business I felt very much in the dark, and believe me, there are still many days like that now. It’s the challenge that keeps me going and I truly believe one has to learn from their mistakes, big or small. I’m constantly reevaluating how I run my business. Every year I try a few new things and see how it goes.
What valuable experience/knowledge did you have before starting your business?
That valuable experience and knowledge that I brought to my business was my knowledge of the material. All the past years I’ve spent working in a variety of office administrative jobs has helped with the business side of things too, but mostly I’ve had to teach my self.
What made you take this leap into being your own boss?
I never felt I had a good grasp on what it was that I wanted to do for a career. I always leaned towards artistic and creative studies and hobbies. After and few years of bouncing around I ended up studying to get my BFA in ceramics in Boulder, CO. After graduation I moved around and did different things, never knowing how to make ceramics my life but keeping it by my side. It seemed impossible and far from reality to make a living from it with the student loan debt that I took on. When I grew more confident with my work I started to see it as a possibility and took baby steps to get my work out there. While working full time and making ceramics during all my non-sleeping hours I started selling at shows and online. Sales and exposure started snowballing and I cut back to part time work to eventually quitting my day job. Now I work with clay full time and couldn’t be any happier being my own boss.
What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?
Work hard and love what you do.
From the shapes to the inky black brushstrokes, everything about Elizabeth Benotti’s work is just perfect! Mark your calendars, November 14+15 is when our New York Holiday Fair comes into town. In the meantime, find Elizabeth Benotti online here: