Something that’s “everyday” doesn’t have to be mundane. Sarah Hussaini created Not Work Related to bring fun and whimsy back to everyday essentials, injecting a category — one that can be too serious at times — with liveliness.

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Ceramic Mugs from Not Work Related

How did you get started in ceramics?

I started with hand building when I was in high school. I didn’t appreciate it at the time — but 10 years later, the familiarity of it filled a growing void in my life. As someone who went to college and then got my masters in architecture, it felt very natural to produce my own work. I started working in an office and the restlessness hit me. For the first time, I wasn’t producing work for myself anymore. That vacuum of self expression is what brought me back to ceramics.

Why ‘Not Work Related’? What was the inspiration?

When I formally started the brand I was working at one of the largest global architectural practices in the city. It was a collection of everything I hated about the corporate office: stiff, uptight, cold, vicious hours. Needless to say — working there was killing me slowly. ‘Not Work Related’ was purposely steered in the opposite direction. I wanted the pieces to have character, to be fun and whimsical, to be things that bring personality back into our overly serious lives. …

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Jacqueline Zhao Ceramics, Striation Collection

Why Ceramics?

Opportunity for meaningful human connections is at the root of why I pursue ceramics. The studio culture is a unique community where people from myriad backgrounds, trades, cultures, and ages are joined in curiosity and exploration of her or his own craft at an individual pace. In cities, including New York, community manifests through occupation, locality, education, religion — and the studio weaves between concentrations and unites them in one place.

For me, ceramics is a galvanizing force for community through creativity. Ideas are shared and nurtured while sitting side-by-side with other ceramicists, everyone simultaneously making craft.

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Jacqueline’s Striation Collection

On the Striation Series

I named this collection the Striation Series, because it embodies an exploration of line. Each piece is crafted by the coil method of creating pottery, by which clay was rolled into individual ropes and then stacked to compose the walls. The walls of each piece were then carved away to reveal the contours of the form, and the result is an undulating body molded through positive and negative lines. …

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Dishes from Knotwork LA

What was the story behind Knotwork LA?

Knotwork was initially created as a side project for my husband Kagan and I to create fun things in our spare time, starting with a wooden baby rattle that we still produce. When we coined the phrase “made in our spare time” it instantly enveloped all the things that I was tinkering on from clay to wooden products and utensils.

Since then it has evolved and become mainly ceramics and my full time thing with no spare time left! …


Marcus Im

Founder of SUPPLY UNICA. Fermentation fan.

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