Enjoy the tradition of matcha with these bespoke masterpieces.
Natasha grew up in the Northern tip of Saskatchewan, on a small reservation called Black Lake First Nations. She draws from her experiences with land and nature to inspire each piece she shapes with her hands.
We joined Natasha in her south Seattle studio to watch her work and learn more about where she draws her inspiration.
Hone: How long have you been making pottery?
Natasha: I have been making pots since 2011, so for almost 10 years now.
Hone: Why make pottery?
Natasha: I really enjoy the fact that being a potter, a craftsperson, has allowed me to be a working artist. I have always thought of myself as an artist, mostly because of the support of my family growing up. Nonetheless, visualizing how to make a living to create a life around art came naturally with this line of work so that's why I went for it. Clay is also a good life teacher, it is always reminding me of important lessons like how to let go and move on, things go wrong all the time in the studio and that's just the way it is.
Hone: What was your inspiration to get into ceramics?
Natasha: I loved that I could spend time creating something, then it had a whole life after it was finished. The functional part of an art object is what I love most about making pottery. I also love the life it allows me to have, I can bring my dogs with me to work, and I get to have a flexible schedule.
Hone: What makes ceramics your favorite art form?
Natasha: Bringing it into the home and getting to interact with the pieces every day.
Hone: What makes you excited about making pottery every day?
Natasha: All of the possibilities, each time I unload a kiln there are immediately so many changes I want to make to move the work in the right direction to make it better. There are thousands of tests I feel like I need to get to. The variables are so vast, each thing like the choice of clay, glazes, kilns, firing processes, and schedules all change the way a pot feels let alone all of the forms I am working through exploring.
Hone: How many years did it take to make pottery as a side hustle before you could make it a full-time job?
Natasha: Probably 5 years until I committed to it being my only job and livelihood.
Hone: Can you describe what you felt when you realized you could drop your other jobs and just sell your artwork?
Natasha: Scary! It still feels scary sometimes, but that’s just life and the balance of things. I get to enjoy freedom and autonomy in my craft, but I don’t have a safety net like most jobs so that is the risk you take.
Hone: What’s your favorite piece of art you’ve made?
Natasha: I don’t think there has ever been one favorite piece I've made. Each month I feel like I get better at my craft and skill and I get excited about the direction the work is going.
Hone: Is any of your artwork inspired by your heritage?
Natasha: I think anyone who makes art is processing their specific personal story, we all have such personal circumstances that make us understand the world. I came to clay in a roundabout way, what interested me the most about it was that I was working with the land in a really obvious way. The history of this land and native people is very political, there is a sad and dark history that is not frozen in the past but something we live with today, it is why we are where we are in many ways. It felt significant to work with this material because of that, but it also allows me to create something beautiful as a craft and object I can put out in the world.
Hone: What artwork do you remember being created in the community around you?
Natasha: If there was any.Lots of beadwork was made around me. My granny and aunties were always working on beading things for moccasins, mukluks, and mittens. They also made beaver mittens and canvas tents.
Hone: Can you give us a brief story about your family history?
Natasha: I’m half Dene, a First Nations tribe located in the northern part of central Canada, I specifically come from northern Saskatchewan and I’m half Dutch Canadian. I grew up on a small Dene reservation, our family raised sled dogs for racing, spent lots of time out on the lake fishing.
Hone: What was it like growing up there?
Natasha: I remember my childhood being full of lots of adventures with cousins, fishing a lot, playing with dogs, visiting my granny every day to eat caribou and blueberries. Summers felt short and precious. It was very cold in the winter with not much daylight, but we just dressed for it and I remember my dad always taking us for winter picnics all the time. He would lay down spruce bows, cook some caribou ribs or a whole caribou head over the fire and brew a pot of orange pekoe tea.
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