We sat down *virtually* with Alexis Courtney of East Clay Ceramics to talk about vessels, photography, and our Boketto LAB x East Clay Ceramics collaboration.
Tell us a little bit about yourself! What do you love to do?
I grew up in Delaware on a tiny street with my grandparents and cousins as neighbors. I lived in upstate New York, NYC and SF before landing in Richmond. I love all things animal and am slowly building my collection (we have 2 dogs and 2 cats so far!). Gardening has become a happy place for me as I simultaneously grow a babe in my belly. I enjoy anything craft and often pick up new hobbies like sewing, collaging or making pots. Which has become more than a hobby and helps keep me grounded in the moment and open to shifts and changes as they arise.
How did you come to create East Clay Ceramics?
When we moved to Richmond I found myself taking community classes again and this time it seemed to stick. You can only make so many pots for your home and loved ones before you need to off load them elsewhere. We had just moved back east and were living on Clay St. So I started East Clay as a way to commemorate our move and share the ceramic love beyond just my immediate friends and family.
You've also done photography projects for us at Boketto! What similarities and differences do you have between your photography and ceramics practices?
Yes! Photography is my first love. I studied photography in undergrad and grad school. For myself, the two are very different. The commercial side of photography tends to be a group effort, where I work with clients and their team to fulfill a vision they have in mind. Pottery is a much more solo effort. Outside of the community studio it's just me and the clay. Similarities though, would be allowing creativity to consume me and the tendency that both have in feeding my propensity for perfectionism.
How did you create and design the vessels for our candles?
The smaller vessels were a design based on a wine cup I had been making. Simple, modern and sleek. The larger candle vessel was a little more serendipitous. Jelena had mentioned wanting a 3 wick vessel so I drew a few versions up. When she sent me her inspiration the drawings and her images matched almost identically. We combined the smooth raw black exterior with the glossy interior to create some equilibrium between finish and texture on both vessels.
If you could have a tea or take a Boketto moment (a moment of daydreaming and of rest) with any person dead or alive who would it be? What kind of tea would you have?
My grandmother who passed away when I was 14. She lived across the street from us and her patience, kindness and love is something I think of often as I prepare to bring my own baby earthside. We'd drink chamomile tea because I just dried some from our garden.
What does a moment of rest, recharging, or nourishment look like for you?
Currently it's a trip to the beach, where I spend most of the day floating in the ocean and reading whatever's in the beach bag.
What's something you want people to know about you that I wouldn't think to ask?
I'm on a mission to learn to play the Harmonium. I wouldn't call myself musically talented by any stretch, but I do have a lot of determination!
Aquarius Sun/Leo Rising/Aquarius Moon.
Shop the Boketto LAB x East Clay Ceramics collaboration here.
Photo by Farrah Fox