Vendor Highlight – Qwrkydirt
Spring Bada Bing is less than two weeks away! We will be highlighting two vendors a day until the big day so you have the chance to get to know some of the awesome makers who will be with us at the show.
Richmond Craft Mafia’s Spring Bada Bing – at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
April 29th 10am-5pm
Meet Sloane from Qwrkydirt
How did you get started making your products?
Most of my time playing the mud has been spent creating figurative sculpture. Then one day last year I stumbled upon a stash of random stamps I had squirreled away from my flirtation with scrapbooking. Immediately I thought how cool it would be to use them with clay! Among the stamps were several sets of letters. As I was considering my options, I thought of my late, spunky Southern grandmother’s favorite expression and pressed it in among the flowers and dragonflies – “well… shit.” I was hooked. From there I began playing with utilitarian forms and vessels and expanded my messages to include the sarcasm and profanity in which I am so fluent. I love the juxtaposition of the snarky text and the dainty stamps. That dichotomy was one of the things I loved so about my grandmother… something that I now appreciate in myself!
Tell us about your process.
All of my pieces are handbuilt using clay slabs. After cutting the slabs into shape, I embellish them using a variety of pre-made and handmade stamps as well as found objects. Those slabs are then combined and shaped into mugs, bowls, plates, planters, etc. After bisque firing, I stain and glaze each piece using food-safe glazes and stains then fire to cone 6. This ensures all my functional pieces are dishwasher and microwave safe. The little beings (a.k.a. babies) are also handbuilt from the same mid-range clay body as my functional pieces. I try to imbue each one with his/her own personality, mood and expression and then give them a small task, such as holding a bud vase, watching over a candle or just hanging out on your desk while you surf the interwebs! They are also excellent listeners… or so I’ve been to told.
Of all of your products what is your favorite and why?
I enjoy sculpting the babies the most. Seeing their little faces and personalities emerge as I’m working on them never gets old. Often I find that they have taken on my own mood or energy at the time of their creation. It can be cathartic to just get that out!
What is your most popular product? Why do you think it’s so popular?
Mugs! We live in a highly caffeinated world. I think people realize that the vessel they choose to sip their beverage of choice from says a lot about them, their mood, and at times, their philosophy on life. In the strange times in which we currently find ourselves, my work seems to resonate.
Which of your products is most time consuming to make and why?
The babies. While figure sculpting is inherently more time consuming than say, a bowl, I often find myself lost in trying to get the expression just right.
How much time do you typically spend making each product
It’s difficult to say exactly how much time it takes on each piece since I try to work on several items at once. I’ll roll out and cut slabs for several pieces and allow them to set up while I focus on the stamping for another batch. Then there is the firing and glazing which are also difficult to calculate per piece. Did I just dodge that question??
What drives you to continue making? Who/what is your inspiration?
For as long as I can remember I’ve had a compulsion to make things. Pens & pencils, paper & scissors, cloth & thread, sticks & mud — it was all good. Just give me some materials and let me go at it! My mother was right there the whole way egging me on. Sadly she passed away 3 years ago. Even in her illness she encouraged me to put myself out there, do the work, persist. I promised her I would… and now I am.
What other Spring Bada-Bing vendor(s) are you most excited about?
This will be my first time attending, so I’m excited to see them all!!
Tell us about your most memorable day as a maker
The day of my first craft show. I was debuting my functional work and had no idea how it would be received. Not everyone is gonna want a mug that says “fuck” on it. Much to my surprise and delight, people loved it! There is no other feeling like seeing your work and what you love making other people smile and laugh. It’s just the best!
What is the biggest hurdle you have overcome with your business?
TIME!! There just never seems to be enough of it. Like most makers, I have to support my habit with another job. Finding balance between the two is a constant battle. Over time I’m learning how to strike that balance without making myself (and my friends & family) crazy in the process.
How do you spend your downtime?
I’m so lucky to live in Asheville, NC. When the weather is warm, I love to hike along the Blue Ridge or paddle one of the many beautiful rivers in the area. The live music scene here is fantastic, too. And on an unrelated note, did you know Asheville has been nicknamed “Beer City USA”… just sayin’.
Do you have any pets?
I have an orange & white tabby named Jasper, a.k.a. The Dude (he abides, you know) and a hedgehog named Howie.