November 28, 2015
Our Austin Fair kicks off today and we can’t wait to Shop Small from over 175 independent makers. One we are particularly excited about is Settle Ceramics! We’ve been following Samantha Heligman on Instagram and absolutely love her process pics showcasing her work.
Where did your business name come from? Is there an interesting history behind?
Ive been working in clay for over 8 years. I have moved several states since the beginning of my career, but have finally found a place to call home in Austin. With that in mind, my work has also evolved from items that were more erratic and all over the place to a cool and cohesive collection. The name Settle came from my love of nesting. When I moved into my current apartment I realized how quickly I like making a space my own. Settling into a grove and feeling comfortable in my surroundings. Settle has just been an extension of my love of homesteading.
Have you always been passionate about design? When/Why did you start working in this particular craft/field?
I wasn’t always a potter. I started my career in the arts by attending Savannah College of Art and Design with every intention of being the next Richard Avedon, photographing the rich and famous in strange and beautiful settings. Well, don’t get me wrong I love photography, but then I got swept up in the Fine Arts and decided to be a painter. Finally when I had a free elective I decide to let the inner child who always wanted to play on the potters wheel come out, and I haven’t looked back. Since that first class 8 years ago I grown leaps and bounds. I have a firm grasp of where I would like my work to go in the coming years. Its very exciting to design items from start to finish and then see the happiness they bring.
What do you think sets your designs apart from others?
I have a strong love of cooking. It shows in my designs. I make work that I like using in my kitchen and on my table. Each design has been tweaked and tested to be practical and useful. This dedication has come to be my strength when I want to be set apart from the pack.
Have you had any major failures? If so, what were some important insights gained?
I would never say that I’ve failed, I would say that its all part of the journey. Failure implies that you haven’t gotten anywhere, but look where I am now! Ive learned that the most important factor to making your dreams come true, is to just keep going. This year has been a whirl wind. I have opened my own art collective with two great friends, I have set up my own studio and found and supplied myself with all the tools I need. Its only possible because I decided not to give up when the going was tough.
Have you sacrificed anything to create your business? If so, what was it, and do you have any regrets?
I have no regrets.
What has been your proudest/favorite moment since creating your business?
My most thrilling moment has only recently happened! I was feature on a local new Network Studio 512 TV by my amazing stockest Kettle & Brine. It made me feel like all my hard work is paying off.
How does the city you live in influence your work?
Austin is very food centric. I makes it easy to find inspiration what with all the tasty dishes being created. Every meal needs a vessel to rest in! Austin is also very maker friendly. most people here seem to go out of their way to shop local and handmade.
What valuable experience/knowledge did you have before starting your business?
Honestly this whole process has been learn as you go for me. I had some great lessons in college about selling work. I have also learned much from my fellow makers I have come to know and love. The biggest lesson I have learned is to ask questions. If you don’t know ask. most of the time if the person your learning from truly care they will answer.
What are some inspirations for your work?
I have been really into simplicity as of late. Trimming the fat if you will. I love looking to different artists in different cultures and seeing how they remedy their table needs. My current line has been influenced a lot by the simple designs of Asia. Letting the form shine through.
What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?
Just keep going. The net only shows up after you jump.