1. Tell us about yourself.
I’m a sucker for a factory tour and could watch an assembly line for hours. There’s something so satisfying about watching raw materials turn into a functional product. I am also a teacher by day and a ceramics maker by night and weekend. I’m really interested in how people make decisions and so half the fun of starting a small art business for me has been researching what products sell, who buys them where and when, and how to make my own processes more efficient.
By the way, if you also love a good assembly line and you’re ever in Washington, D.C, check out the bureau of engraving and printing tour.
2. What are you presenting at the Baton Rouge Mini Maker Faire?
I will be showing people how to use underglaze and stamps on bisque ware to make plant markers. Bisque ware is clay shaped and fired once to a relatively low temperature so it is still porous while strong enough to glaze. If you come to my table you can take a rectangular stake, put your own design on it (stamp the name of an herb if you want), cover your design with clear glaze and then return to Main library a few days later and pick up your fully fired artwork. I will also be showing and selling mugs, coffee drip cones, serving bowls and earrings that I’ve made.
3. Why is making important to you?
Making is important to me because it is interesting. So many inputs go into the things we use every day. For anybody else who thinks, “this was a lump of dirt, and some minerals and now I’m drinking my coffee out of it” and is just fascinated by that check out the essay, “I, Pencil: My family Tree as told by Leonard E. Read”.
4. What was the first thing you remember making?
The first semi- functional things I remember making were Christmas tree ornaments. I think I was about 5 and I took some pieces of purple yarn, some red and green tissue paper shreds and some scotch tape, balled up the tissue and taped a chunk every inch or so to the yarn. Once I’d conned my little brother into indentured servitude and we’d produced a handful of these lovely decorations, I remember taking a table and chairs out to the end of our driveway to market our product and being very disappointed by the lack of demand.
5. What have you made that you are most proud of?
The thing I’ve made that I’m most proud of is a set of ceramic oil and vinegar ewers in the elderly likenesses of economists Milton and Rose Friedman I call “ Oil or Vinegar- Ewer Free to Choose.” The liquid is poured in through a spout using a funnel and then pours out their mouths. They sit together on a shelf in back of my stove.
6. Given an unlimited budget, what would you make?
Given an unlimited budget, I would make product lines like bat art and bat house kits to promote bat conservation. These crepuscular heroes eat their body weight in insects each night and pollinate plants. I think they’re beautiful and under-appreciated.
Find out more about Big Brown Bat Ceramics on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/BigBrownBatCeramics