Clay, Creativity, and California: A Conversation with Ceramicist Emily

Emily is wearing the Low Rise Bootcut in Light Denim
Tell us more about who you are and what you do!
I’m Emily and I am a ceramicist! I grew up in Central Florida, and eventually moved to Chicago for grad school where I lived for awhile. When I decided to relocate to LA it was almost like coming home. It wasn’t Florida obviously, but it was warm and I could escape to the ocean. Life just moves a bit slower and there was a familiarity here that I had been craving. Since I made a huge move across the country I figured I might as well make a huge career change too! I had been sculpting with clay on and off for over 5 years and was slowly gaining momentum until last year when I pivoted to do it full time. 
Emily is wearing the Low Rise Bootcut in Light Denim
Where do you look to for design inspiration?
Cliche answer probably, but literally everywhere! I remake ordinary objects out of clay, so I pay a lot of attention to mundane stuff. It's an intentional practice of listening and noticing things that really excites me. When I am at a friend's house I'll snoop around in their kitchen drawers (with permission) and look at what they keep. I am interested in objects that are important to other people. I made these ceramic wall hooks that look like paper clips because I was in someone's house, and they had a stash of paperclips in their silverware drawer and I thought it was so goofy and perfect. I also like flea markets because I think the selection of items in some way is a reflection of the seller's interests, and it's a neat way to get to know people - through their possessions. 
What is your favorite design you've ever made?
I made a giant lava lamp sculpture that's 20in tall. It was a one off thing for fun and it actually works as a lamp. I have it in my apartment now and I’m obsessed with it. 
What other artists are you inspired by and why?
My studio mates Katherine (@bykatelia) , Zed (@studio_zedsie), and our studio neighbor Lucy (Lulupotsla). When I was first looking for studio spaces I thought maybe I wanted a solo space, but in retrospect I am glad I didn’t do that. They’re all so talented in such different ways and we get to learn from one another. It's really special to witness their individual creative processes. It’s a reminder that there is no one way to do anything. Also their ability to give honest and thoughtful feedback challenges me, and I think that all you can really ask for as an artist. 
What impact has social media played in growing your brand?
Oh man, it’s been the literal foundation of my brand. I always envisioned slow and organic growth for myself. But social media is a beast and you can’t really control the way it works. I had a reel on Instagram go “viral” a few months ago and overnight there were thousands of people with opinions about your art. It's been wild honestly but I am so thankful. 
What's coming down the pipeline for you creatively?
Lighting, mirrors, and knobs :) I have been renting apartments for years and have always felt limited by the amount of alterations I can make to them. I'm dreaming up ways to really enhance my own living space with custom pieces and I hope to share with everyone soon. 
What do you like about your Just Black Denim jeans?
They’re SO comfy. I wear my jeans to the studio regularly because I can truly work in them. I'm often hunched over and painting, on a ladder, or loading kilns, and Just Black Denim jeans just move with you. 

Follow along with Emily on Instagram @emholmieceramics

Emily just launched a new Western Boot Collection, so be sure to check it out!
December 18, 2023