June 14, 2016
Mier Mier is the artistic project by Shanghai-born artist Mier Luo. Her education in Environmental Design inspires Mier to focus on the cohesion between art and design and awareness of nature and sustainability.
When/Why did you start working in this particular craft/field?
I grew up in a household of ceramic artists and played with clay as a child, but I never thought I would be working with clay as part of my career. In my last year studying product design at the Maryland Institute College of Art, I wanted to use clay for my thesis project to capture biological form and textures. That’s when I realized that clay felt the most natural to me. I had a lot of fun creating the work and realized that there’s so much potential with this material. I really just wanted to create, and ceramics felt like the most comfortable and expressive way for me to do that.
What do you think sets your designs apart from others?
It’s organic and elegant. Because my forms are references from nature, they’re both simple and intricate. All ceramics are hand-formed and kiln fired, so you never get the exact same results. I’ve made so many different pieces of jewelry that I don’t have all of them documented! I love experimenting with contrasting textures and combining materials — clay, wood, brass, and now leather.
Have you had any major failures? If so, what were some important insights gained?
My process of making is a constant back-and-forth between fail and try-again. It was important to me to learn not to let failures take over my emotions and try to move on quickly.
Have you sacrificed anything to create your business? If so, what was it, and do you have any regrets?
I frequently overwork my body — especially before a big order or show. Because I get so focused, it’s easy to work all day and night, skipping a meal or two. Over time, my body throws it back at me and requires time to recover. So I do regret wearing myself down. But it’s short-term regret.
What has been your proudest/favorite moment since creating your business?
Every time I hear people praise my work — that always makes me happy.
Doing this for nearly 3 years, production can get a bit repetitive. When I hear a positive response to my work, it reminds me of how excited I was when I created it. I began making this stuff for my own creative exploration, but it’s nice to know that others are finding value in my work as well.
How does the city you live in influence your work?
New York City has a tremendous amount of designers and artists. It’s really fun and educational to see what other people are making. I think seeing others’ success and commitment to their crafts gave me some confidence to start my business. With that, NYC is also very competitive and trend-following. It’s important to be honest and have your own personality in your work.
What made you take this leap into being your own boss?
I had a bit of struggle after graduating art school. I was suddenly in the real world and unsure of what to do for a career. I found myself independent and wanted to make work that I loved. I felt that being my own boss is what had to happen in order to continue doing what I love.
What are some inspirations for your work?
Organic forms, textures, clay making – the tactile experience is a big part of my creating process and that’s my inspiration.
I have to feel it in my hands — grainy, fine clay. I’ll push and carve and mold. Imprint a honeycomb texture, glaze smoothly or leave the surface unfinished. It’s really all about the process.