A desire to create - Casey Taylor Ceramics

A mind of a child is one exciting place. It works fast, soaks up the information that gets, and with that exciting imagination of a child, it creates beautiful stories. The ones who nurture that inner child when they are older are the ones who win in adult life. It gives them a world without limits and a fruitful stream of creativity.
When we first encountered Casey Taylor Ceramics we could feel the inner child in her work. Tangled with great skills she developed during her carrier, it brought to us beautiful pieces of art that seem to keep on giving to their owners. That feeling of joy and excitement that we felt led us to the open and vulnerable interview with her. Take a moment for yourself and enjoy her art while reading it.

Where are you from? Where does the art journey start for you?

I’m from Rhinebeck NY, and am currently living and working across the river in Kingston. My art journey really started when I was very small- from the first time I picked up a crayon. My mom was pretty creative, and my dad was a mechanical engineer, and they both liked drawing but had very different styles. I’m not neuro-typical so drawing really became the way I stayed connected with the world around me, I would get in trouble so often in elementary school for doodling because my teachers thought I was zoning out- but it was the drawing that actually helped me stay tuned in. From high school on, I expanded my creative endeavors to sewing and sculpture, and eventually ceramics when I was in my third year in college. That changed everything.

What is the first emotion that drives you towards creating an art piece? Do you recognize the connection immediately and let yourself flow on the creative process? Or do you "bake" the inspiration for some time?

I don’t know if I could say it’s an emotion that drives me to make work- it’s more of a desire to see something in my head take up physical space, and sometimes it’s just a need to be doing something with my hands. If it’s something that’s in my head already, I tend to bake that inspiration for a bit before actually making it. I’m not sure if that’s to make sure I don’t change my mind or what- part of me thinks it’s a bit of a lack of confidence in confronting my inner critic, who I call Stacey. She thinks that everything I make has to have an ‘educated’ approach and represent some big, vast idea- I’m getting a bit better at telling her that not all art has to do that.

What is the back story of your design? Because every one of us sees the world through separate lenses. How hard it must be to transfer it to other people?

Oh man, this is a tough one. I have so many designs in my functional work- I think it’s safe to say that the back story is simply wanting to make different things and always be exploring and having fun. I tend to see the world in a very positive light, I’ve had a lot of loss in my life and while it really weighs on me, it also makes all the wonderful things out there a little more wonderful. A lot of inspiration comes from 90’s cartoons and retro fast food kids meals and packaging; some of my favorite things from my childhood. 

When it comes to making a living from your art, what are the main struggles? And what would be your advice for starting artists?

My advice is definitely get all the paperwork and boring yet official business things done first, even before you think you need to! I waited to do any of that because I wasn’t sure if I would ever be able to support myself as an artist full time. But fact is, if you love it enough and don’t mind putting hours and hours of work in, you can absolutely do it!

I think my main struggle with working as a full time artist is self discipline. I’m definitely getting better at it- but I have my studio in my house where I also have 40 other projects going and two cats that love to cuddle and play, so those things can be a little distracting! I’ve found it helps to make a daily routine around being in the studio, like relaxing a bit with breakfast and then getting tuned into a podcast or an album that gets you in the mindset to start making. 

What do you prefer, single pieces or storytelling through a whole project? And what approach do you use in each case?

I actually really like both in different contexts. Most of my work right now is functional ceramics like mugs and things, where I will make multiples of each object, but they are all single object stories to tell. When it comes to my sculptural work though, I really like working my way through understanding a concept by making numerous pieces related to it. I don’t know if that’s storytelling exactly, but there is a narrative quality.

Why do you use certain materials? What connects you with them, and makes you feel they are perfect for your art piece?

My main material right now is clay. There is so much I could say about it! Every time we did any kind of ceramics in high school, I was so fascinated and excited by the process. When I took a class in college and could experiment to my heart’s content, a light came on. Before that, I was creating something on an already established surface- but with ceramics, you create the canvas and what goes on it.

Clay is this really humble material that connects all humans- it’s discovery allowed us to start the very first civilizations by making it possible to store food, and eventually discover beer; and it was just hanging around near riverbeds minding its own business ! Having this connection that’s so ancient and rooted in community really makes clay almost human itself- seeing fingerprints on ancient vessels and feeling the marks of someone else when you drink out of a mug they made, there’s part of the maker in these objects. It really makes you feel a deep connectivity, and that’s my favorite part about it.

What does ART, in general, mean to you?

I’ve been trying to decontextualize art as it exists for me vs how it’s defined by institutions; basically a reconditioning post-college trying to unlearn how serious I became and to have more fun. I’m still working on that, so I don’t have a solid answer- but in getting closer, I’ve figured out that I need to love what I’m making to call it art. It has to be for me, even if I’m selling it. It doesn’t have to have a big story behind it, or be making a big statement on society; it just needs to give me that ‘feeling’ when I look at it.

The FOURLINEdesign team would like to thank Casey Taylor for sharing inspiring thoughts with our community.