For the 9th ceramic artist interview here we have potter Janet from Canada. I'm hoping to interview a friend for my 10th, but I haven't heard from any yet, so go on & email me your responses if you'd like to be featured in a week or two. Click here for the individual questions.
Janet Holson-Mazzer, 46, Midland, Ontario Canada, jansonpottery.com
Where do you work in clay?
I work in my basement and the garage of my home.
Do you have another job?
I have a 3 ½ year child and my pottery business.
Are your studio and occupation decisions made by choice or necessity? Please explain.
These days I seem to have a lot of commissions. I think that depending on the size or complexity of the piece, sometimes it might take me a while to figure out how to proceed. I have found that when I have wholesale orders, it zaps the creativity out of project. I feel like I am working on an assembly line. Most things that I make are things I like or see that I would like to try making. Sometimes when I finish a commission that I put off for a while, I am surprised in what I learned through that process and in the end I am grateful for the experience.
How do you budget your time (in the studio and out - family, errands, etc)?
There never seems to be enough hours in the day to make everything work. I have a new website that I am still working on updating and have added a blog and would like to get there more as well.
I try to run household errands on days where my husband is working. My Mother-in-law comes over so that I can get work done. When my husband is around, I can usually get a great deal done. When things are busy with our home life and I don’t have time for clay, I continuously have ideas and projects running through my head.
Why do you make pots (or sculptures)?
I have loved clay since I was a child. When I was in high school, I took a lot of ceramics courses and if someone had asked me at that time what I wanted to do with my life, I would have said without hesitation that I wanted to be a potter. At that time, I moved into a field that I thought I would make a better living at. Some years later, I returned to my first love and continued to work at another job. It is only the last 5 years that I have been able to work without another job. When I am away from clay for whatever reason, I want to be close to it. When I am working, nothing else exists. I found this even more so when I made sculptures.
How concerned are you about environmental issues? Does this affect your work?
I am very concerned about environmental issues. I am careful with my own health when it comes to mixing glazes and do not flush anything down the drain including clay. I have buckets that I rinse everything out in. Because I work from home, I am always concerned about dust and safe material storage. I am a chronic recycler and I reclaim all of my clay instead of throwing it out. I feel better knowing that I am taking care of my surroundings.
I have a garden, I run all of my errands on certain days and try to have as many car free days as possible.
What do you do when you're having a bad day in the studio?
If I having a bad day with some aspect of my day, I move on to sketching or something else that is completely different yet a necessary part of what I do.
Do you create art in other mediums?
Not at the moment. I have done a couple of metal clay courses in the last year and was initially smitten with it, but I find that I always end up back with clay. This autumn, I may take a jewellery or a photoshop course.
Where do you sell your work?
I do some small shows around the area where I live. I sell on Etsy and have an established clientele where I live now. I end up getting a lot of commissions through all of these.
How did you approach those venues about selling your work?
I have lived in Midland, Ontario for about 5 years and prior to that, I have lived in Toronto. I did a lot of consignment for a number of years. I approached galleries and have also had them approach me. My work was almost always there on consignment. I had read “Stayin’ Alive” by Robin Hopper and a number of years ago and he said that when galleries/shops take your work on consignment they as not as motivated to sell your work because if it doesn’t work, they can just give it back. I have never really pursued the wholesale aspect of things because I have a young child and don’t always know how much time I will have to work. So these days, I work mentally on what my own gallery/workspace/teaching space will look like. I have also had some people who have found me through my website, Etsy or word of mouth.
Do you have any questions you want to ask other ceramic artists, or artists in general?
I would like to know if other artists whether it be ceramic or other, have a ritual that they perform before they begin their work.
In response to Jim’s question, I like to listen to a huge variety of music. I really like Zero 7, Bliss, Buddha Bar compilations, John Mayer, Molly Johnson, and even though I don’t understand it, I love French Canadian music.