I've admired the work of Kimberly Huestis for quite a while and I'm so happy to give her the spotlight today! She makes gorgeous delicate ceramics, and she has quite an eye for intriguing three dimensional shapes. Read on to find out more about her and her shop!
Being a small business owner myself, I love to hear the origin stories of other makers. When and how did you decide to start your own business? What is your creative background?
I had been toying around with the idea early on while working at an engineering company as a 3D multimedia visualizations developer. I had just graduated and didn't want to do something off my academic background. Then, while working in architecture as a building designer and environmental consultant the haunting ideas came back: I wanted to work with my hands and physically feel like I was creating sculptural things. At the time, I was also working as a professional wedding photographer and had a small tech startup project I had co-founded. It wasn't until a year later when I finally went both feet first into launching a jewelry business and essentially shed the excess distractions. It was really hard to let go of the things I loved. But, I was beginning to realize how much I loved shooting photos as a passion and not as a business. So photography is something I still get to do for fun and even to help show my current pieces.
How did you decide to focus on your medium & style?
It probably took root back in college. I was in love with sculpture and visual 3D explorations. I did rock carving, medium sized lost-wax castings and then was thrilled to find 3D graphics and animation software like both Maya and 3DS Max. I no longer had to plan extra time around how to get the marble dust and pebbles out of my hair and off of most of my skin. But, once I lost that very human and tangible element to my design work, my hands just felt... lacking. My mind always floated back to ceramics and though I pretty much thought it was crazy to work in ceramics, I let myself go. Rather than being at a desk job, obsessively sketching out ideas (I worked in design, it's highly encouraged) I could finally realize these concepts during the day when I had the most energy. Most of the ideas I had I wasn't sure how to even do, so figuring it out was half the fun and the other half of fun was creating it and testing out how it worked.
Have you set any exciting goals for yourself or your business for 2015? What can we look forward to seeing from you!
Yes! I love setting goals. You'll be seeing more thrown vessel forms along with more stone-set porcelain jewelry. I'm also hoping to bring back the studs and have been perfecting on the original design so folks with skin biochemistry much like my own will have no problems wearing it and feeling lovely.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out in their own self-made business?
I think it's important to set milestones and goals. The milestones are things you treat like a task and if you get them done, should lead to reaching your goals. Just starting out? It's important to set some attainable goals so you feel like you are achieving something, but also have a few reach goals that would be fantastic to get to at the end of a year if not sooner. Setting both milestones and goals helps to keep your mind moving forward and always thinking about the bigger picture.
When you're not creating, what do you love to do?
I love running and playing around with food recipes. Food is like the better form of making and experimenting, because you get to eat your creations: a bit more nutritious and satisfying to the appetite. Going on long runs helps my mind just work things out and I never thought I would get into running, but it's really pretty natural.
Lastly, can you share some of your favorite artists?
Santiago Calatrava -- an architect / engineer with envelope pushing designs that continue to help challenge and grow engineering technologies. I love industry folks that push boundaries of what we think we can build (Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid). While some are very unhappy with their design aesthetic, I almost love their creations on multiple levels. Mainly because they worked hard to get to where they are, so they can build what they like (clients certainly passed off on it). But, also because they are not settling into a design comfort. Their design team's seem to love constantly exploring, and that plays a part in influencing modern and innovative technologies.
Galina Rein -- Russian born artist of incredible fine porcelain work. Crafted in the pate-sur-pate technique. I am obsessed with the amount of patience and tiny intricacies of her work. She works in a centuries old technique to create forms which very few artists out there today can achieve. Her work is absolutely mesmerizing and I wouldn't be surprised if other porcelain artists were as in awe of her work as I am. I have practiced playing in this technique very slowly, because I hate the idea of old traditions getting lost over time, I may never execute my own designs but Rein's work is eons beyond my own and far too gorgeous. Everyone should see her sculptural pieces. Very inspired by florals and land-growing bits of nature.
Eriko Inazaki -- another fine detail, porcelain sculpture artist. I cannot get over the crazy amount of quick work necessary over long periods of time (patience again!) -- I love that she has a steamer/humidifier right at her studio table. Her detailed work takes my breath away and makes me want to be a better designer and creator. Her work more specifically represents spiney sea urchins and underwater-like creations of coral and such. Clearly, this is my design-style love!
Heather Knight -- one of the few American porcelain artists that I would say has had a big influence on many designers whether they are aware of her work or not. She has brought a tedious process into the modern light and her repetitive technique is soft and gorgeous. Her work looks like magnified and englarged close-up pattern studies of florals and other land-growing plants. Plus, she is a lovely maker right out of Asheville, NC, with a great eye for pretty much everything. I cannot tell you how many times I have wanted to tell her... "make it jewelry!" [waves magic wand]
Find Kimberly's work & follow her here: