ARTIST INTERVIEW: Lucy Michel
We are excited to welcome ceramic artist and jewelry designer Lucy Michel to the Echo Park Craft Fair Holiday 2017! Lucy was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. After studying fine art and photography at Otis College of the Arts and Design and Parsons School of Design decided to focus on the craft of handmade objects, ceramics and jewelry, used for functionality and everyday adornment. We spoke to her about her craft, and she shared some photos of her charming, organic designs.
Describe the path that led you to the work you do now. Did you take any big risks to get where you are?
If you had told me 5 years ago that I would be a working ceramicist, I would’ve said you were nuts. I started out going to college to study fine art photography. I had taken photos my entire life, I even had a dark room in my house growing up. Though I still take pictures, I never pursued it professionally. I instead started a career in the jewelry industry. First in production and then in design. That was around the time of the “celebrity jewelry line” so most of my jobs were ghost designing. It was an amazing experience, but I started to crave something sustainable, something more my own, and something I could make with my hands. I took a ceramics class 5 years ago and fell in love with it. So after I had enough with the fast fashion jewelry business, I quit all my accounts and spent the summer going to the studio everyday. I lived off my savings, which was super risky, but I needed a break to figure out what I really wanted and I’m so happy I did. My path has really shown me that you never know where your life is going to take you.
Do you have a daily working routine? Can you describe it?
I would describe my daily routine as disciplined. I’m most productive in the mornings, so I make myself a coffee, check my emails, and hurry off to the studio as quickly as I can. I work in my studio every day, even if that means running there for a few hours in the early morning before I go to work at my (rad) day job at Midland. Sometimes it can feel like I’m always working, but at the same time, I’m truly stoked to go to my studio everyday.
How is your work inspired by or influenced by nature and your surroundings?
I’m born and raised here in Los Angeles, so the Califonria vibes are deeply engrained in me. I feel super connected to the land here. From the mountains, to the sea, to the desert I’m inspired by it all. I describe the style of my pieces as California Modern. The shapes are modern, but the glazes and clay I use are earthy and simple.
What is so special about making art NOW, in our hectic digital age?
I love that what I make takes time. You CAN’T rush ceramics. The digital age has totally annihilated my attention span, but ceramics makes me slow down. Sometimes all the instagram and fast information becomes super overwhelming to me, even though I fully indulge and participate in it. It almost feel rebellious in todays day in age to make something you don’t need any technology to create. That being said, I also think it’s super cool to be making art in a time where you can get immediate feed back about your work. Instagram is a necessary evil, and like anything that’s kind of bad for you, its pretty fun.
What are your most important artistic tools?
A wheel, some clay, a metal rib, a wooden knife, a high fire kiln, a good pair of overalls, some good tunes or a podcast, and coffee.