Classic Clayworks: Building an Empire, One Mug at a Time

I would make ceramic vessels loaded with wildfire and use them in battle just like they do in Game of Thrones.”

Meet Nicole Elizabeth, owner, and operator of Classic Clayworks and Game of Thrones enthusiast. To be fair, we prompted that statement when we recently chatted with Nicole and asked her which one of her own products she would take into a hypothetical market battlefield. We want to be on her team.

Classic Clayworks is Nicole’s line of wheel thrown pottery that she shares every week as part of our Friday Night Market in Kennedy Park. From bowls to mugs to ring dishes, her designs are a perfect blend of art meeting functionality. Lest you think this artist is a one trick pony, Nicole also hand designs and creates a line of jewelry inspired by natural materials.

An Artist Finds Her Voice

Nicole cites her high school ceramics teacher as one of her closest mentors. It was in her high school classroom that she first worked with clay and fell in love with the medium as a way to express herself and her artistic vision. What started as a high school art project blossomed into a lifelong passion and supported her decision to pursue a career in Art Education.

“Claying” the Foundation

In 2014 Nicole graduate from the Maryland Institute College of Art with her Masters of Art Education. She attributes the program’s emphasis on developing one’s personal studio practice as the impetus for starting her own company. Pushing herself to constantly create and hone her craft became a daily mantra and led her to find outlets to share and sell her work… enter Asbury Fresh.

Nicole says that participating in markets is part of her strategy to stay motivated and continue to grow her business. The face-to-face interactions with customers and other vendors allow her to build relationships and her brand.

“I love doing the markets,” Nicole said. “They help me by getting me exposure to new customers and providing me the opportunity to get immediate feedback on my product line.”

Looking Toward the Future

Nicole continues to engage and inspire both the next generation of artists and her contemporaries through classes and workshops. This October, she will present a talk during the 2016 Art Educators of New Jersey Conference. Also on deck for the fall is a bi-weekly Classic Clayworks newsletter with sneak peeks of new work, updates on when collections will be released & exclusive access to coupon codes for loyal customers.

So what is Nicole’s vision for the future? The list of goals in endless but at the most basic level, she just wants her art to inspire a little bit of joy in a customer’s day. Nicole went on to say,

“My work is designed to be used, enjoyed and infused into one’s everyday life. My favorite thing about my business is when a happy customer posts a picture of their newly purchased mug filled with a hot cup of tea or an evening glass of whiskey! It’s my goal to have all of my customers drinking their morning coffee out of a handmade mug!”

A big ‘ol mug of happiness is hard to come by, but Asbury Fresh has been having a lot lately. So cheers you, our readers, market goers, and vendors.

Stay tuned for more and don’t forget to check out Classic Clayworks on Etsy and follow on Instagram for updates!

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