Clay + Craft by Nicole Novena
Meet San Diego based Potter and Contemporary Ceramic Artist, Nicole Novena—owner and founder of Clay + Craft.
I stumbled upon Nicole’s work while browsing through a co-op shop in Oceanside, California. There were many local brands featured all over the store, but none of them compared to Clay + Craft.
There was something unique about her modern ceramics that caught my eye, and knew I needed to learn more about Nicole’s work and share her story with my audience.
I had the pleasure of chatting with Nicole about her indefinable style, and everything that has molded her into the outstanding creative she is today.
This is her chronicle:
Could you give us a little bit about your background and how that led you to ceramics? Was there any inspiration behind signing up for that high school class?
From day one, I simply enjoyed the medium. We needed to choose an art elective and my older sister suggested I try ceramics. I really didn't put much thought into the decision but took to it instantly. From there, every year I took a ceramics class. I have kept in touch with my High School ceramics teacher over the years. Even then, I never thought I would be doing it now.
When was the moment that you decided to launch CLAY + CRAFT and become an entrepreneur?
In 2016, I formally launched CLAY + CRAFT. I had my son in 2014. I shifted to working part time as a marketing consultant so this opened up windows of time to play on the wheel and start a little home grown business.
How’s a typical workday for you?
My days are a mix of making (this includes product development, creation, glazing, firing, etc), business/marketing related and working at our co-op shop or hosting workshops.
What’s are your go-to techniques to you use?
My work is a mix of wheel thrown, hand built or slip cast pieces.
How would describe CLAY + CRAFT?
Minimal. Modern. Timeless. It's handcrafted yet refined. I strive to strike the perfect balance of a clean modern design coupled with natural and organic aesthetic.
How do you express yourself through ceramics?
I very much believe in less is more and feel we as a society, consume more than needed. If something is timeless it doesn't get tossed away as trends, colors, etc.. change. It can survive through all that. I create my pottery with that in mind, I hope it lives in a home for years and years. Plus, my work compliments almost any design aesthetic.
What makes your craft unique and stand out from others?
It's simple but I like to think beautiful too. There is substance and intention behind each piece.
Describe your studio space.
I currently work out of my home studio and share a co-op store with a few other makers in Oceanside, CA. My home studio is small, it's amazing what I've been able to produce in a small space and I have completely outgrown it bit haven't found the right space yet to move into. I have my kiln, wheel, shelves and a big working table. And, I have created a small shipping station. Our co-op shop is a shared store where you can find my entire collection of mugs, cups, wine carafes and vases.
Is there a specific piece you’ve been dying to make? That you can share about at least…
By far it's my newest vase series. It's a trio of altered pieces. Perfectly thrown cylinders (the most fundamental shape of pottery) are then, intentionally altered. I've spent years perfecting to now create an oops. This series represents ones journey through clay, celebrates the process, embraces the beauty of imperfection and highlights the magic that happens when we push ourselves just a tad further. From the mishaps to the moment it all comes together to the material itself. Aesthetically striking, understated and relatable, the series strikes the hard of find balance of art and home decor that's minimal yet meaningful.
What is your WHY? Why do you create?
It's innate. I need to do it for myself so it's a bit selfish but that's why I've started hosting workshop and my long term vision is to provide a space for others so I can share my craft with others.
Do you have any advice for someone who wants to fully dedicate their life to their artistic craft?
It's a tough road and hard to make enough money to make it make sense. But, if there's a deep desire to go this past, I just encourage others to keep pushing forward even when you have those days where something cracks or a glaze doesn't perform. Just keep pushing and moving forward.
How did having a family background full of artists influence you?
I feel my desire to create comes from within. I do come from a family of other creatives. As mentioned earlier, I think it's innate.
What’s your favorite part of being a creative person?
Oh gosh, I'm not sure if it’s a blessing or a curse.
What’s next for CLAY + CRAFT? What’s the best way for someone to keep up with your journey?
I would love to find a space that is part retail/part studio where others can experience the wheel and hand build a piece on their own. I'd love for others for follow my clay covered journey at clayandcraft.com or on Instagram @clayandcraftco.
Visit CLAY and CRAFT’s Co-Op Shop in South Oceanside.
Shop their full collection as well as goods from their shop mates:
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday: 9:00am to 4:00pm
Friday and Saturday: 9:00am to 5:00pm
Sunday: 9:00am to 2:00pm
1834 S Coast Hwy, Oceanside, CA 92054