Local Ceramicist Bridget Dorr will be leading a hands-on workshop at Madelife on November 15th. Madelife visited Bridget in her Boulder studio to ask her a few questions and to check out some of her beautiful work.
When & where did you first learn your craft?
I first started pottery in college while getting my Art Therapy degree. I took a ceramics class first semester and ended up declaring a ceramic minor that year.
Who (or what) has been your biggest influence?
I’m very inspired by the slow-living movement. I fell in love with pottery because in young adulthood I found myself feeling very overwhelmed and even offended by overuse of technology, especially at the dinner table and during meaningful experiences. I started making pottery for the dinner table because I believe creating an elevated experience during meal time keeps us more focused on the present moment with each other.
What have you learned through creating that has surprised you?
How tough your skin has to be. Putting your work out there to be viewed and judged has left me feeling very vulnerable and self-conscious more than I thought. I’m often surprised how hard I can be on myself as well. Overall, I feel like it’s turned me into a confident woman and I’m grateful for that.
What piece of work best represents you and why?
I love my pinch pot planters. I like making these the most because of how intimately I handle the clay to make and move the pots into this shape. My literal fingerprint is all over these pieces. I think they are great for drinking tea or growing plants. Two of my favorite things!
Describe your work routine for your making practice.
It’s important for me to have a well-balanced schedule. Staying physically and mentally active is really important, as well as eating healthy. I’m most definitely a morning person so I get up and have a nice slow morning, tea and breakfast with my husband. Then I head to the studio mid-morning. I spend a full day in the studio and keep up with my production schedule. Keeping everything in moderation helps me my practices in the studio stay sustainable.
Tell us about any recent collaborations, why they worked (or didn’t).
I have collaborated with other creatives in Boulder to style shoots with my pottery and that has always been exciting to see my work in use. So often I make dishes and don’t know where they go and how they are used. Getting to style them for other people on a dinner table is my favorite thing to do after they’ve been created.
Where do you go daily / weekly to get inspired?
I take a good dose of my inspiration from other potters through social media. I’m grateful to be able to ask other potters questions and gain advice. I am mostly inspired by natural forms, specifically the beautiful forms found in the southwestern high deserts.
What are you listening to these days?
I just got a new record player and I have a healthy dose of old and new vinyls. My favorite ‘old’ is Carol King’s Tapestry. My favorite ‘new’ is Blessed Feathers’ Order of the Arrow.
What are you reading right now?
George Orwell, 1984
Where is your favorite place to visit?
The hight desert, no doubt about it.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received in your creative career?
Have your art and your craft. Your art will be your passion and life’s work, but your craft will help propel and sustain your art. Don’t be afraid to make and sell the work that isn’t your art. That’s okay, and it’s important to continue to make.
If you make part-time, what are some other things you do to supplement your income?
I am full time now, but I’m also a photographer and the two work nicely together and have informed each other.
What is the key thing that you did right in being able to sell your work?
I started small and used the bootstrap strategy every step of the way. I never went out of my means and everything I earned felt deserved and right. I’m so glad I started that way and continue to grow my business using that model.
What’s the one thing you would do differently looking back?
I would have liked to be kinder to myself and practiced slow-living more while trying to juggle a full-time job and grow my business.
Describe your ideal vision for the future of your work and practice.
I would like to be a production potter in my own studio with a small team. I want to design and produce modern pottery for the dinner table and to encourage more people to be present with each other with each piece and set I create. I am also excited to have more community collaborations here in Boulder. This community really appreciates meaningful experiences and good conversation and I believe my dishes are a wonderful vehicle for that.