Saturday, January 26, 2013

Meet Artist Rob Cartelli

This week on My Little Brattleboro...

Do you know Rob Cartelli? If not, you should! I’m in love with his gorgeous porcelain pottery and siked to talk with him about how he manages his creative business with being a new daddy to the sweetest newborn babe. 

There’s an online explosion around the topic of work/life balance but it’s very geared towards mothers and their work. Today, we’ll hear from Rob about his love of pottery and how he makes each hour count.

What do you love about making pottery
  1.  Lots. All the steps along the way, from throwing, trimming, decorating, firing, glazing and firing again.
  2. The people in the clay community both locally and farther afield whom I call friends and respected colleagues.
  3. The look of 25 freshly thrown mugs lined up on a board.
  4. When I throw a pot, lift it off the wheel and get the feeling that I know it's going to be a great piece.
  5. The way folk pottery looks sloppy at first glance, but after study you realize that what makes it "sloppy" is what makes it interesting.
  6. The way a truly well designed factory produced pot can make me feel just as inspired as #5.
  7. When a mistake or flaw turns into the thing I like most about a piece.
  8. When a customer who bought a bowl of mine two years ago tells me they still use it everyday.
  9. I honestly like the way the clay smells.

As a new daddy, how are you finding being a pop has affected your creative life, if at all?
I think it's made me more focused.  At the moment, my studio is not where I live so being in the studio requires physical distance from my family.  As a new dad, my time in the studio is precious but it has to be as productive as possible.  I love being at home with my wife and our baby Cooper so I have to make all the hours of the day count.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a marine biologist after reading a book about dolphins.  Then I read a book about baseball and decided I wanted to be a baseball player that researched marine biology in the off-season.  I still think that may have been the way to go!

What's been the most challenging part of making a living as an artist? Most rewarding?
Again, my biggest challenge right now is the 24-hour clock.  That's just not enough time.  We need to up that to like, 30 at least. I keep meaning to call Senator Bernie's office about introducing legislation for an increase. I'm a bit of a perfectionist and I devote a great deal of energy to exploring and improving my designs. I work a lot. I'm not at a point where I can support my family on my pottery alone so I have a wonderful day job at Laura Zindel Design and I teach at the Brattleboro Clayworks. I have found teaching very rewarding.  I enjoyed seeing many of my students fall in love with making pottery and develop real skill in clay. In term of my own work, I love getting to use my brain and hands creatively. I enjoy interacting with my customers and hearing their appreciation for my work. Respect and encouragement from my peers and teachers always feels good, too.

Where can we find your work?
My work is for sale locally at The Brattleboro Clayworks showroom which is open Fridays and Saturdays 10-5 and at Pinch in Northampton.  I host a couple of sales at my home in South Newfane during the year, including on The Rock River Artist Tour. I exhibit at a number of craft shows in New England such as the Sunapee Craft Show and Craft Boston. I'm also quite honored to be part of the Smithsonian Craft Show this April in DC. There are more details at my website.

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