Designer Interview: Virginia Felix of Kera Clay
We love your distinctive range of ceramic designs from sculptural vessels to functional wares. What is your inspiration and creative process?
I find that my inspiration and creative practice has been slowly changing and reinventing itself overtime. So I don’t have a particular source of inspiration but instead a collection of physical and visual experiences, memories and interactions with people and objects that inspires what I create. Just recently I reformed my morning ritual, it now starts with early morning meditation and about 30 minutes of yoga. It sets the tone for the rest of the day and has really influenced how I go about starting a design to finishing it. Before I was present, in the midst of making but now I can fully feel out a moment. It’s so hard to put into words!
How did you get started in your craft working with the medium of clay?
I signed up for a private class to give it a try, never intending for it to be an ongoing hobby. But what brought me back to ceramics was an entirely different form of art. Writing was always my primary practice and during a burn out phase I needed a medium that didn’t require a lot of mental effort at the time. I learned that making ceramics required physical intentness. So I signed up for both hand building and wheel throwing classes for a semester at a local pottery studio 3 years ago. Learning a new practice really remediated that creative block and I have been committed to it ever since.
What are your current projects and how has your designs changed or evolved?
I’m currently working on a new series within the Figura Project, a project I started in the beginning of 2020 that focuses on the parallels between the natural world and the human body using clay. In this new series, I’m hoping to use the elements of space, volume and weight to challenge the meaning of balance and clay relative to mass. It’s been challenging trying to find the time to experiment but I hope to get around to finishing it to share with others.
Running a business requires a lot of time and passion for what you do- on your down time, what are your other interests, passions or activities that you enjoy?
Other than clay I do enjoy writing, at times I incorporate it into my practice when working with clay. But because of the shut down I’ve been turning over a lot of different hobbies, learning something new, expanding my collection of leisure activities. I have gotten into playing the piano, chess, yoga and meditating. I’ve found that these other activities give back in my ceramic practice, it’s so rewarding. But I’m also learning how to do nothing, I hear it’s just as important.
Fun facts about you. Secret talents? Any irks and quirks you'd like to share?
I can read about six different books at a time and complete about three in a month. I often buy more books while knowing I have unread books in my library. I’ve always been an avid reader and I never learned how not to multi-task.
What are some of your favorite pieces and items you collect for you or your home?
I tend to invest in objects and clothing that are minimal with neutral tones. I like to apply the same principle in my home too, I go for the mid-century aesthetic. I’m drawn to shadows and articulated lines in particular object or furniture. Besides collecting books, I collect plants too! I’m going on 23 plants now, they’re my absolute weakness.
You grew up in Brooklyn and are still currently based there, what are some of your fave local spots in your area?
There’s this taqueria in Bushwick I used to go to about once a week before the shutdown, it’s called Tortilleria Mexicana Los Hermanos. They have the absolute best tacos and it’s also BYOB, so a couple friends and I would go for a weekly ritual of drinks and a competitive game of UNO. Tony’s Pizza on Dekalb was my childhood hangout spot, definitely good pizza. There are a few other favorite spots like Forest Park and the neighborhood pool hall.
How have you adapted at home and in your neighborhood during these challenging times?
During the middle of last year, I actually moved into a new apartment with more space, so I felt that I’ve been fortunate to have a change in scenery during the pandemic. The adapting has been going swell, I was able to acquaint myself with my new clay room and found myself to be more creative and open-minded with the extra space to think.
For the wanderlust in all of us, what are your favorite places to visit? Where would you like to explore next when it's safe to travel again?
The Antelope Canyon in Arizona is first on my travel list, I have been wanting to visit the park to learn more about the formations as it’s central to my Figura Project and the meaning behind it. Next would probably be Bali, to learn and explore the culture, I hear it’s beautiful and I want a chance to experience that.
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Images courtesy of Virginia Felix