When we wrap something up as a gift, we are not just wrapping up the item, we are also wrapping up the time and energy spent to create it. A gift is an emblem of multiple things. It is an emblem of your love or gratitude, but it is also emblematic of its creator’s imagination, vision, passion and dedication.
This is why we love to learn about the stories behind the items that we pass on as gifts. The story behind Naked Clay Ceramics is one of courage and simplicity. Founder, Carla Sealey was a collector of handmade ceramics for over 20 years before she took the leap to start her own ceramics business.
Before opening Naked Clay Ceramics, Carla, a qualified geologist and chemist was working as a scientist in environmental protection. The moment for the drastic career change came after, as she puts it, “a storm of personal, domestic and work crises within the space of 18 months found me reassessing what I was doing and why. I pressed reset, sold my house, left my job and took myself back to university to do an art degree.”
As Carla took the courageous step to simplify her life by going back to the basics of creating things with her hands, her personal style of paired back simplicity emerged. When asked where that aesthetic comes from, she responds:
“I’m not really sure! I remember the first time I saw an exhibition of Edmund de Waal’s work about 20 years ago. It was like a meditation. I felt so peaceful. I think I just wanted to recreate that feeling. It also introduced me to the idea of multiples, that you can actually make more of an impact with lots of small things than with one big thing.”
How profound and poetic. But of course, making multiples of many things by hand is no easy feat. And Carla takes the work ethic to another level by doing everything by hand and without a spinning wheel. She further explains, “I use a combination of hand building from solid clay and slip casting liquid clay into my own moulds. I made a conscious decision from the beginning not to throw my pieces.”.
These handmade pieces are a journey back to earth, back to basics, back to our original intention. They are mugs, vases, and vessels in one light, but they are also emblematic of a point of view and a way of life. They are the important reminder to, in Carla’s words:
“Make what makes you happy, not what you think other people will like.”
We thank Carla for her courage to create with simplicity, a respect for basics, and with a clear intention.