What did you do before you started exploring ceramics?
I’ve always worked with a range of different materials–including ceramics, since I was about 6. My company is basically a continuation of (or rather, the evolution of) my senior thesis collection at Parsons. Now, ARC objects is my full-time gig!
Was there any special moment that made you decide to go for it?Throughout my senior year of Parsons, the process of collecting inspiration images, then coming up with the designs, spending time in the ceramic and metal studios, and developing a studio practice all felt so fun and exciting and organic that I realized it would be my dream to continue doing this in the future. I didn’t plan on starting my own business so soon after graduation, but after presenting my thesis collection I received a lot of positive feedback and encouragement to “go for it”… So after a summer in Europe, I did…! ARC objects officially began in early 2014, but in fact has yet to officially “launch.”
What’s the passion the drives the company forward and where do you get your inspiration?
ARC objects feels like a natural form of creative expression for me; the passion behind it comes from the same source of creative inspiration that I’ve always had, since I was tiny. I remember being very small and feeling so excited by things I wanted to make or ideas I wanted to explore—in this respect, I haven’t changed much! I find inspiration from many, many sources. There’s always a project in my head, a visual trip yet to be taken.
You make home objects and jewelry from ceramics. What did your creative journey leading up to you making these objects look like?
I actually started off making jewelry from materials I found at the hardware store—I liked the simplicity and geometry and utility behind them. I also liked the concept of using something that was usually intended for a completely different purpose. After a while, though, I found limitations in the items that hardware stores had to offer, and I was off-put by the notion that their sources were so often impossible to trace. I realized I would have a lot more creative freedom if I were to start making my own components to use for making jewelry, so I decided to revisit ceramics, a material I knew very well but hadn’t worked with in a while.
Why is the art of making ceramics special to you?
I love working with ceramics for many reasons! I enjoy the process from start to finish—which I think is important criteria for something I engage with everyday!—from the “wet” phase of the clay, to the point at which it’s ready to be bisque-fired…to the great reveal when it comes out of the kiln. I love that it can be both bold and delicate at the same time, that it’s an environmentally (relatively) sound material, and that despite how many thousands of years it’s been around it can appear modern and ripe and timeless simultaneously.
You live and work out of your child hood home in Tribeca. Tell us more about your place!
My father got the loft in the late ‘70s; it’s an old shoe warehouse, built around 1850. Turning my childhood room into my (main) studio has been a true adventure in redecoration! As much as I love working from there for the amount of natural light it gets and for the lovely tall ceilings, I’m finding as ARC grows that I need more space… so it may not be my studio for that much longer!
You grew up spending summers on Mallorca, how was that like?
I have always loved my time spent in Mallorca—I feel I am as much from there as I am from New York City. Both places have very particular cultural landscapes and energies and fuel that they feed me. Time in Mallorca definitely taught me the value in enjoying the present, as well as the importance of time spent among nature. In addition to Spanish, I also speak Mallorquin, the island’s native tongue—which has been a wonderful practice in thinking about how I articulate myself in different languages.
If you could move to some place other than Mallorca or New York, anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Hmm… I’d like to try living in Barcelona at some point–I remember thinking I could see myself living there the last time I visited. It’s such an interesting and culturally rich place! I also find its proximity to the Mediterranean very appealing.
You’ve been receiving some great press, which is your favorite piece?
Thank you! I have to say, all the press ARC has received has been amazing…! Most recently, seeing an article about ARC objects in the New York Times T Magazine blog (The Moment) was a huge thrill!
Tell us about one of your favorite milestones!
I remember that last winter, barely two weeks into setting up my studio, my first big order came in. It was such a surreal moment—that the timing could work out so exactly! I’m not superstitious, but I took it as a good sign…!
Do you ever regret doing your own thing and starting your company?
How does one of your products go from idea to physical product?
I usually start by sketching out a new idea, and then coming up with a plan for fabrication. Once the details feel resolved I make a mold and then test it out with porcelain.
Which product is the most fun to create?
Hard to say! There is something really satisfying about assembling necklaces once the ceramic components are out of the kiln… after all the work that goes into making each piece, it feels like the sweet spot at the end.
Which product in your store is your favorite at the moment, and why?Also hard to say! I love wearing the Today Necklace, and seeing how it interacts with different necklines. I also wear the bangle bracelets nearly every day…
In what way are you finding that having an online store opens business up to new customers?
Having an online store is a great way to extend access to ARC objects to more people in diverse places. It’s been a bummer when people have been interested in buying a piece but are unable to because of a geographical limitation…
What’s the best thing about being your own boss?
It’s wonderful to have a creative vision and have the freedom to make my own decisions about it. It’s also awesome to be able to make my own schedule, and allow for it to change circumstantially depending on what’s going on at a certain moment in time.
Do you sometimes work remotely?
Yes – last year in Mallorca, for example, I worked on ARC remotely (in all ways except production). It’s my dream to set up a studio there as well, though, so that I can continue developing / prototyping new work even when I’m not in New York City.
Could you count up all the different materials and tools that you use?
Uff! Too many to include every single one…! But the main ones are: porcelain; water; silver; plaster; nickel silver; a drill for mixing porcelain; sponges; a gas mask to avoid inhaling dust; a kiln; glaze; resist wax (which goes on the bottom of pieces so they don’t stick to the kiln); pencils; pens; paper/notebooks for scribbling notes and ideas; my iPhone for taking pictures (I like to document the process of how things are made as well as the final result!); files; drill bits; a buffer for polishing necklace caps; silver solder; a torch; a pitcher; carving tools; industrial rubber bands for holding molds together; a ruler; a tape measure; masking tape…
Do you have any tips for other entrepreneurs?
Follow your creative vision and have fun with it!
Do you have any favorite Tictail store you want to recommend?
Wray is a favorite! I’m a big fan of their jumpsuits. And by pure coincidence, an ARC necklace is featured in their Fall ’15 lookbook! That was a fun overlap.