JULY 9, 2020
A Creative Community Newsletter for Information and Inspiration
Each week we will send news you need to know about the COVID crisis that will help put us on the road to recovery. We will also give you a glimpse of how our creative colleagues from across the state are using their talent to bring us all closer together!

This week, we’re diving into pottery, ceramics, and how clay creations mould our world and help us see beauty in the everyday.
Paycheck Protection Program and the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (aka the extra $600 per week in your weekly unemployment check) are set to expire on July 31st.  Congress will decide to either let these benefits expire or renew them. These programs have helped to sustain creatives during the pandemic. Please take two minutes to contact your U.S. Senators and call on them to pass further COVID-19 economic relief legislation before their recess on July 31st. 

Sharing the exciting news that the film industry got the green light to go back to work! (Thanks to the 160-person statewide task force that helped to make that happen.) Check out the safety on set protocols approved by the Governor’s office here . And if you're looking for information about sourcing personal protective equipment, signage, safety videos and toolkits, check out our recently launched COVID Production Resource Page

And if you have questions about film production insurance in the time of COVID, Getting Back to Work | COVID Questions : Production Insurance Q&A w/ Greg Jones from Momentous Insurance Brokerage Inc ., here .

Feel like making some art? Take a look at Ellensburg’s Gallery One’s list of online classes for teens and adults !

Tacoma’s Throwing Mud Gallery is now open! Drop in to shop, take classes or paint your own ceramics. 

Redmond Art Works offers a range of contactless classes and project pick up options that fit your budget. 

In an effort to break down barriers of entry into the arts, Pottery Northwest offers free or discounted classes for BIPOC Washingtonians. There are also income-based scholarships available. 
All Around The Pottery Wheel
Potter & Ceramicist, Mariella Luz
Meet Mariella Luz, a self-taught ceramicist and owner of of m.bueno Pottery in Olympia, WA. For almost two decades she worked behind the scenes in music –for a record label and running an all ages venue. In 2014, when the venue decided to close its doors, she took a ceramics class. After one lesson throwing, she decided to buy a wheel. A year after that some friends invited her to sell at a craft fair and that is where she sold some of her first work. Check out her cool workspace in this studio tour , and her Etsy shop here .

We asked Mariella about balancing business with pleasure when creating, how lockdown has affected her creative process, and how to make a living selling your artwork. She also let us know about 5 other creatives she admires, check out her list here .
How do you balance your time making work with time spent on the rest of the tasks necessary when making a living working with clay?

I try to set aside time every day to make things. I know that all the other parts (shipping, emails, etc) are work too but somehow if I don’t make something that day I feel guilty. This is bad! I’m trying to get out of that mindset of constant productivity and busy-ness (the trap of capitalism!) but years of programming make that difficult. Also, I don’t really balance my time—I just work a lot. 

You say in your bio that you try to "make your work affordable to use every day." How exactly do you price your work? And does this impact your creative process?

I live in a small town where people don’t make a lot of money so when I started I really wanted to make things that my friends and community members could afford. That was the starting place. Now because I have two people that work in the studio with me and I’ve switched to mostly selling wholesale, I’ve had to adjust that pricing so that we can cover costs and pay a good wage. Part of it was also just doing the math—if I sell something for $8, that has to cover the time to make it, fire it, glaze it, fire it, box it up and send it. 

Do we make any money? In some situations the answer was either no, or yes...but only like a dollar. So we had to adjust. (Turns out math works!) It does impact my creative process in that I still start at the place where I want my friends to be able to afford my work, but if I come up with a new design and it’s really labor intensive, how do I make it work at a price I’m willing to sell it for? It is something I am consistently struggling with and I have lots of thoughts about being a POC and a woman artist that I could go ON & ON about.   

What made you realize that pottery was the right medium for you?

I fell in love with clay the first time I took a class (I was almost 40 at the time). There was never any other option for me. Occasionally I mess around with drawing and painting but I feel most comfortable with clay.

What are your favorite items to make? 

This may sound funny/weird but I’m really into round things. People occasionally ask me to make square or rectangles and it seems that I’m actually incapable of doing it. Everything I make is round or a circle and the bulk of artwork in my home not made by me is also round or circles, I’m kind of obsessed.
Has the lockdown affected your creative process at all?

I think the lockdown has affected my creative process in many ways. Early on my creative practice was a way for me to get out of my head/sorrow for what was going on. To step away from homeschooling my kid and feel more "normal." But it was also difficult to be excited to make new things when everything seemed so uncertain. In a more practical sense, it was great, because for the first time in years I was alone in my studio and I could be as messy as I wanted to be and spread out.

Now that we are back to work it is difficult in a different way, as we’re all meant to go back to “business as usual” when things have actually gotten worse instead of better! Now not only do we have a global pandemic to freak out about, we’re also standing up for our fellow citizens and fighting for systemic change in our country but somehow we’re meant to be as productive as we were before? Needless to say, I’m feeling pretty upside-down creatively and otherwise.

What advice would you give to artists who want to make their living making and selling their work full-time?

I have this print in my studio that is a favorite by Adam J Kurtz. It reads “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life work super fucking hard all the time with no separation or any boundaries and also take everything extremely personally.”

I think that pretty much sums it up. Is it worth it? TOTALLY!
The Pottery Community Celebrates Diversity
Saltstone Ceramics annual Pride Show, QUEER and DEAR , runs through July 31st. They have filled their windows in the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle with hundreds of new ceramic pieces from 16 queer artists, all celebrating the diverse voices of the Washington pottery community. Walk by, roll by, or see it all online !

Classes have resumed at Phi Pottery in Tacoma and they will be donating 25% of tuition to Tacoma Urban League . Phi is also donating 25% of sales of his work from Saltstone Ceramics to the Oasis Youth Center and the remainder of items in the QUEER and DEAR show at Saltstone Ceramics to the ACLU.

The Seattle Black Film Festival is this weekend! Have a look at their website to get a look at their schedule of FREE virtual screenings, and online workshops and consider donating to support the festival and their work. 
Ceramics That Keeps Us Grounded
This ancient pottery is a reminder of unity in pandemic times.
A new social enterprise scheme in east London helps locals train as potters in an artist’s studio. Meet the terracotta army designing planters for your garden.
A Colorado ceramics company is helping to make equipment for front lines of COVID-19 pandemic.

Ceramics studio owner creates Coronavirus-inspired mugs and magnets .
Washington Filmworks (WF) is the private 501(c)(6) non-profit organization that manages the Motion Picture Competitiveness program as well as a diversity of resources for the creative industries in Washington State. WF's mission is to create economic development opportunities by building and enhancing the competitiveness, profile and sustainability of Washington State’s film industry.
 At Whipsmart, we are unapologetic advocates for creative people and businesses. We give creative professionals the tools they need to succeed, by meeting them where they’re at—offering intentionally curated mentorships, job opportunities, and business resources scaled to every stage of their career.