Kaitlyn Chipps of Kai Ceramics pours creativity into her custom ceramics.
A ceramic artist from Atlanta, Georgia, is gaining the admiration of a growing fan base around the world. Kaitlyn Chipps, an artist in residence at a pottery studio called Mudfire, challenges herself to create new and unexpected works of art with the basic materials of clay and fire, along with a vivid imagination. In an interview, Kaitlyn recalled how she discovered her calling to the art form, and identified a few of the fanciful influences that shape her work.
How did you get started as an artist?
As a kid, I was always artistic. I didn’t become serious with art until my senior year of high school, when I took advanced courses in 2D work. I continued on with my 2D work into college, aiming for a degree in either teaching or illustration. About a year into college, I found ceramics and fell in love!
Thank goodness you did!
The funny thing is, I actually pushed ceramics courses back or ignored them until I had to take them for my college degree. I always assumed I would be terrible at 3D work, since I’d never even tried it before. Little did I know it was my calling.
Yes, it clearly is your calling. What was your artistic journey like from then until now?
I’m very lucky to have been given many opportunities to help grow my knowledge in ceramics as art and a career. In college, I took on the position of being a studio assistant to my professor, where I learned how to teach other students and also maintain a pottery studio. I also took a job working in a pottery supply shop selling clays, tools, and chemicals, all while also learning more about the pottery universe. All of this experience has helped lead me to my current position as an artist in residence at Mudfire in Atlanta, Georgia, where I’ve started my own business selling my work.
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What’s the hardest part of your process?
Finding something new to make is always the most frustrating part for me. Sometimes it can get a bit boring making the same things over and over. I try and come up with new forms, new handles, or even ways to make something new and invigorating. Breaking out of my comfort zone is necessary but also the hardest part for me.
What’s the most rewarding part of your process?
Being able to sell my work that I’ve put a piece of my creative mind and time into is very inspirational and rewarding for me. I remember being so uncertain about selling my work. It was a weird feeling for me. I put so much time and creative energy into my work only to never see it again. It wasn’t until I received an Instagram message where someone had purchased one of my mugs as a gift for their significant other. She was so happy to have one of my pieces. She’d waited forever to get one, and she wanted to message me personally to let me know how much she loved my work. That’s when I realized that I can make other people happy just by being me and making my own creations that others can also enjoy.
What pieces are you proudest of?
I don’t have a specific piece, but I am very proud of my jars or any lidded piece. I struggled with making lids for the longest time and now my lids fit almost perfectly. It’s a very satisfying feeling when opening a jar with the perfectly fitted lid.
What are your everyday inspirations?
I am a huge fantasy nerd. I draw inspiration from my love for the whimsical nature of elves and fairies, along with my passion for fantasy stories like The Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones. I am also very drawn to the elegance of Victorian-styled art. Filigreed works and lace patterns are always in my head.