Arielle Gordon of AGordon Ceramics is an American-based ceramic artist who uses the natural world around us as a major source of inspiration within, her work. Arielle joined us to tell us more about who helped guide her on her journey to becoming a designer, and how she keeps her practice as sustainable as possible.
When did you first fall in love with designing and knew you wanted to become a designer?
I started creating when I was very young. My Memere (grandmother) would do arts and crafts with her 4 grandkids every Monday night. As I grew older my love for creating turned into a full passion, one that helped me grow as a person as well as a way to work through emotions and issues I was having in my daily life.
Is there anyone in particular who has heavily influenced/guided you as a designer?
My Memere Lee is the one who really got me started on my creating journey. Not only did she bring me to art, but she showed us that through art we can make a change. Every year we would have an art show with family, and sell some of the things we made throughout the year. All the proceeds earned from this art show would go to a charity of our choosing.
Another important person who helped me with my art career is my high school art teacher Ms. Mac. She helped me with my skill, techniques, and process development. Helping me get through high school, she showed me that there is life in the arts if I worked hard and stayed focused.
Values are really important to us at JewelStreet. What are your core brand values?
Community has been integral throughout my life. Without my church community and supportive family, I would be in a very different place than I am now. Because of the help and unconditional love they gave me, I feel called to work within communities and help in any way that I can. I find that through art we can heal all wounds and find creative solutions to any issue, small or large.
Where do you draw inspiration from for your designs?
I draw most of my inspiration from mother nature. From walking in the woods and meditating, to researching and reading about other places and developments and discoveries in science, inspiration can be found everywhere.
Ceramics lends itself beautifully to connecting to nature, being that clay comes directly from the earth herself. Through this medium, I find it easy, and mind-opening to work and connect with nature.
How do you ensure your designs are ethical and sustainable?
In order to make sure I am being as sustainable and ethical as I can be I do research on all the places where I get my materials from. Having minored in sustainability science, I find that if you take care into looking into the places and people you support you will have more appreciation of those people, as well as your own artwork.
Knowing that I am doing my part to make the world a little better fuels me to make even more art and expand my practice.
How are your products made?
Through a mixture of hand building and wheel throwing, I am able to make just about any form I can think of.
Ceramics allows the time to really work on details and play with the work throughout the entire process. After letting the clay dry out, I do the first of many firings, to bisque the clay and make it into more of a stone.
Once they come out of this bisque firing, I am able to start painting with glaze and underglaze to add colour. Once I am happy with this step, the work goes back into the kiln for a glaze firing, turning the glaze I applied to the work into glass and sealing the clay.
Are there any specific manufacturing/crafting techniques you use?
I love to experiment with alternative firing techniques, like barrel and saggar firings. These are low-fire surface techniques that use natural organic materials that I am able to collect myself. When fired properly these materials will flash onto the work, leaving behind shadows and colours.
In the ceramics community, this is known as "painting with fire". The thrill of this surface technique is that you can never recreate the pattern or design, for each firing is different.
How do you source your materials?
For the clay that I use for kitchenware, I get clay from local clay sources that use sustainable practices. Most of the clay and terra sig I use I collect myself from clay deposits I find on my walks in nature. I also harvest flowers and other natural materials for my alternative firing techniques.
Can you recall a particular moment with a client that will stay with you forever? Could be a funny horror story or a fond memory.
One part of my art practice is teaching ceramics in small art classes with people of all ages. One of my students, the first time they worked in clay with me, had so many questions about the process and the art form itself. His curiosity reminded me of my own at that young age and was a great moment to tap into my inner child, filled with curiosity. I am inspired anytime I work with children in any way.
How do you want someone to feel when they wear/use your designs?
When people use my work or display them in their homes/ location of choice, my hope is that they will have an intimate and magical experience. It is the little things in life that can really bring happiness and joy to your everyday. I hope that my artwork can bring a small sense of peace to whoever it goes it.
Do you have any exciting future plans and where do you see your brand in 5 years?
In 5 years my hope is to have a big plot of land where I can have a sustainable farm and a ceramic studio where I can teach classes and create a strong sense of community for all.
What music do you play in the studio whilst you’re working?
I love to listen to all kinds of music. Music is very important to my everyday life. When in the studio it really depends on what I am working on, but classical music and symphonies make everything feels so much more epic and magical.
What music inspires you to create new designs?
It is less music and more of just the sound of nature that I listen to on my walks. Water running, wind and windchimes, animals scurrying around. All these things bring me peace to really think and explore ideas.
Who is your favourite artist?
This is such a loaded question, because I admire so many artists, I can not pick just one. However, I am always looking into impressionist artists and the surrealist movement.
What drew you to JewelStreet?
JewelStreet is helping artists follow their dreams, and are cultivating a supportive art community, something I hope to create myself one day.
How do your brand values align with those of JewelStreet?
JewelStreet is all about community and helping out others, two things that I was raised and believe to be the most important things in our lives. Being able to be a part of a community like this helps me see my own dreams vividly, as well as helping me to focus on creating.
What is your favourite quote?
"Life is like a wheel. Sooner or later, it always come around to where you started again." Stephen King.
Thank you very much for talking with us Arielle!