In honor of our latest artist exclusive, we asked Brooklyn-based ceramicist Rachel Howe of Small Spells to show us around her home studio. Drawing on her previous life as a fine artist, Rachel explores patterns and graphic designs through the glazing process. Her work includes planters, bowls, cups, and mugs. She frequently experiments with complementary opposites, creating groups of pieces with reversed colors and textures. Using wax and underglaze in combination with glazes to layer colors and shapes, she brings elements from painting and textile design to each ceramic piece.
Rachel Howe: I work in a shared studio so I end up taking my extras and samples home. This is where they all live, either on display or used as planters. I like to always keep at least one of each of my favorites, so now I have this great archive. I try not to hoard too many, but it’s nice to see my progress from the older pieces to now, and I love to have them available to use in photo shoots.
I like having things out on display rather than hidden away and forgotten. Luckily my apartment has lots of built in shelves. I have some of my sister’s ceramics from college here. It’s cool to see how her hand was both similar to and different from mine.
I made these shelves out of discarded scrap wood. I have some awesome pieces that I’ve traded with other artists for—a huge perk of being a maker. The painting of the woman in blue is by my great-great uncle, and I love how the pattern in her shirt is similar to the glaze pattern of one of my first ceramic bowls, which I keep right under her.
It took me a while to actually start using pieces I had made (and friends had made) to eat and drink from, but now that I am over it they are all I want to use!
Small Spells Multi Dot Hanging Planters and Small Spells Black Moon Phases Hanging Planters for Poketo are available in limited quantities at the Poketo Flagship and on poketo.com.