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5 Things with Rachel Saunders of Rachel Saunders Ceramics

Posted by on 5/15/2018 to Community
Rachel Saunders Interview

I'm so excited to share with you the latest in our 5 Things series with Rachel Saunders of Rachel Saunders Ceramics. 5 Things is a series of interviews where we talk with inspiring female leaders making waves in their industry. 

Strangely enough, Rachel and I met through a shared love of manifestation a la the website and workshops created by Lacy Philips of Free + Native. Rachel is someone who upon meeting her (digitally) I became incredibly inspired by and who at a super young age was able to manifest incredible success by following her intuition, betting on herself, and not being afraid to go the unconventional route. Here, we chat with Rachel about how she got started, her infamous Woman Vase, Patti Smith, and what happened when she left Los Angeles for greener pastures (quite literally). 

Rachel Saunders interview

1. How did you first get into ceramics? Tell me a bit about your background, how you got started and what inspired you to turn your art into a business (even despite naysayers)?

There’s a very important and impulsive side of my personality I’m beginning to embrace where if I see something I like, want to do, or create, I will just do it. Usually there’s a large lack of logistics of foresight that goes along with it, but that usually makes it a little more interesting. 4 years ago I was working for a big company in the fashion industry in LA and I realized quite quickly that it was so far from my calling to be sitting at a desk all day and fighting traffic all night. I felt so disconnected from everyone and especially myself, and made the decision to leave my new big-city life and return to my native West Coast island home. I knew I wanted to turn a 180 in life and work with my hands and for myself and physically create something functional that would add beauty to people’s lives. Ceramics was a perfect fit, and I had conveniently fallen in love with the medium right before I made my departure for LA. I came home, found a communal studio that I started volunteering in, and worked from the ground up. I made a lot of messes and even more mistakes (both of which I continue to do) but I eventually taught myself how to make things I liked and continue to learn and grow everyday.

Woman Vase by Rachel Saunders Ceramics

2. My favorite of your pieces is the Woman Vase. I love how you represent the female form in a way that feels universal to all. Is there a message behind this piece? What ideas do you hope to convey with your work?

No message. I don’t like to intellectualize my work but I am happy for others to do so. It’s just a very natural piece that is created organically and is interesting to me in it’s many parallels to our earthly bodies in it’s flaws, fragility and one-of-a-kind nature. There is nothing I am trying to convey with my work. I only hope to enhance, inspire, and connect.

3. Recently, I saw famed jewelry designer Pamela Love instagram a photo of one of your pieces-- how amazing! You've gained incredible visibility and a pretty large fan club at such a young age. Do you have any tips for other artists on getting your name out there and work seen?

I am always very surprised and entertained to see where my pieces end up as well. It’s become a really fun part of my job, and maybe one of the most important aspects for me, the connections I get to build. My pieces go out into the world and end up in the hands of the most wonderful people. It’s just a fact that I couldn’t be doing what I am without the internet, it’s a blessing and a curse but since it’s a necessary part of what I do I try to make it as authentic and as positive of an experience as I can. I try to show a really honest version of myself to the world and let people come to me if they like what they see. I believe that the right people will show up in your life if you are honouring your true self (which can be a job in itself, let’s be real). I would say try to generate as much a your own ‘voice’ or ‘eye’ as you can. It’s very easy to get away with copying and pasting sourced or “borrowed” material, but I think people can really intuit if something is authentic and respond well to it.

4. Where do you find your inspiration? Are there certain people you look to for inspiration and/or guidance?

I definitely have a collection of people in my life who I am just astonished by creatively. Most are very different from me and I revel in their unique perspectives. I can definitely be quite voyeuristic in nature and tend to become so infatuated by certain people. I have a lot of contemporaries who I gather so much inspiration from in their vision but I mostly like to use my imagination and romanticize characters from movies or artists and musicians from other times. Music and food and big in my life too and have a large influence in my work. I get a lot of help and guidance in the technical aspect of my work from my old friends from the communal studios I’ve worked in who are usually 3 times my age and I hang out with regularly. They know what’s up.

5. What is one thing/person/place you are obsessed with right now?

Thing - Human Design. It’s transformed my life upon learning about it and I urge anyone else who feels called to to find out their Human Design type. 

Person - Patti Smith! She is the kind of person I would love to be an ounce of by the end of my time. Everything I read of hers fills me up with the warmest, purest light, and inspires me to truly be present in this world and enjoy all the incredible forms of art and beauty it has to offer. She experiences life with such grace and humility, and I am reminded to be here now and to find the beauty and importance in a slice of morning toast.

Place - Morocco. Always. I almost don’t want to go so I can keep up this sweet romance in my head, but I’ll get there someday soon I’m sure.

Rachel Saunders Ceramics

Rachel Saunders Rachel Saunders Ceramics Interview