Meet the Maker | It's Ok Clay
I love handmade goods, and that’s no secret if you know me irl. Before I ran my business full time, I worked for a community arts and crafts market, and I got to meet so many artists + makers doing incredible work. It was such a joy to elevate their work, and since that chapter closed in my life, I have missed it. I have missed sharing really amazing goods and the stories of the creative people behind them, but I have not had a shortage of discovering great work that I love and want to share. This summer, I’m excited to dive back into that by bringing some handmade and mindfully-made goods by makers I know and love to our our shop.
The first of these makers is Katie Machiocha of It’s Ok Clay. I met Katie through another maker friend by chance when she was looking to find a new creative outlet. A few years down the road, and I have become obsessed with her ceramics. I’m excited to bring on a few of her planters to the shop this summer, and hopefully more of her amazing work later on this calendar year. Get to know Katie and her work through the Q&A below, and check out her ceramics in our shop.
Who are you, what do you do, and why?
Hi, I’m Katie Maciocha [Ma-choke-ah] the potter behind It’s Ok Clay. I create, what I refer to as pedestal planters to bring a spot of joy to your house or office. I love gardening and indoor plants and although I would be perfectly happy making nesting bowls and mugs, marrying my two loves of pottery and plants just sort of stuck.
How did you get into ceramics, and what do you love about it?
You know, I’ve always been in the art world in some way or another. Early on, I landed an incredible job at Team Gallery in New York, which still to this day has remained my favorite place I’ve ever worked. A couple years later, I migrated to DC where I worked at The Phillips Collection and then later decided I needed to be closer to creating something of my own. I began taking courses in graphic design and was able to land a design-gig at The Atlantic. Even still, I’ve always wanted to create something that was directly mine, rather design-by-committee. In my head I settled on pottery or metalsmithing. I found a pottery class that fit my schedule and even though I was dreadful at first, I still had this love-at-first-sight sensation. I found clay and the pottery wheel intoxicating. At night when I’m falling asleep, I think about sitting at the wheel, muddy clay moving through my hands and I’m at peace.
What's behind the name It's Ok Clay?
In a way, I have to admit that perfection is over-rated. I think scrolling endlessly on the ole Instagram and blogs, it’s hard to not compare yourself and your accomplishments with what’s being sold to you in pictures. Lately I’ve been repeating to myself “just be me.” That’s all I can do! Working with clay, there are so many factors that go into it: wedging, throwing, the drying process, even placement in the kiln all affects that outcome of the final piece. Because pottery is not manufactured, I simply can’t control the final product (yet do my best to make it the way I envision). So sometimes I’m psyched at the outcome, and others it’s just OK, and you know? That’s ok!
What inspires your work?
I’ve always been drawn to modernism, minimalism and abstraction. When I was a kid, I’d visit a museum with my mom and would love to play a game which I called “which painting would I hang in my house?” Usually it was the painting of a mostly white canvas with a mad brush stroke in black. Along the lines of Franz Kline, I love his work! I go for simple shapes: rectangle, triangle, circle that I put together to stand purely on it’s own. Most recently I’ve been adding a bit of color for fun—mostly pinks and yellows and add a very clean, uncomplicated line or design pattern.
What are you excited about this summer?
I’m in full-on production mode in my studio, getting pieces together for two shows in August. Apart from that, I’ll be sneaking out of DC in search of water! I’m hoping to take my family to the Pacific Northwest for a little vacay. Though, I’m notoriously last minute at making plans, so I’ll keep you posted!
Thanks again to Katie for sharing! Shop this selection of planters in our shop while they last!