Tasha McKelvey was born in Michigan and raised in Matthews County, Virginia. She now calls Richmond home and creates her garden-inspired pottery which you can find here and here. She’ll also be selling her goods at the Richmond Craft Mafia’s 2010 Spring Bada-Bing this weekend.
Tasha McKelvey was born in Michigan and raised in Matthews County, Virginia. She now calls Richmond home and creates her garden-inspired pottery which you can find here and here. She’ll also be selling her goods at the Richmond Craft Mafia’s 2010 Spring Bada-Bing! Here she tells us about how she got started as an artist, her creative process, and what you can expect from her at this year’s event.
Have you always been an artist? Do you remember your first creation? If so, what was it?
I have been an artist as long as I can remember so I really can’t say what my first creation was. I do remember my sister and I having a great time decorating the outside of the huge enclosure my Dad had built to keep our baby chickens in when I was three.
When and how did you get started selling your pottery?
I knew by my second year of college that I wanted to be a working ceramic artist. I started my business the Summer between my junior and senior year. When I graduated in 2000, I had a bit of experience under my belt and was ready to jump in full-time right away.
What types of materials do you prefer to work with and why? What is that process like for you?
Currently, I’m working with high-fire white stoneware and porcelain clays because I like that my glazes come out really bright and vibrant on a light colored clay.
Did you start out your business with a specific goal or is it something that has just evolved?
My main goal has always been to be able make my living from my clay work. I’m the type of person who is always coming up with new ideas. Clay is great outlet for me since it is such a versatile material so I never get bored.
Do you create works by request? If so, have you ever had a strange or interesting request?
I do make custom work, but custom work can be problematic. There’s a kind of Murphy’s Law for my custom work – if something can go wrong, it will go wrong. I almost always have to make two of any special order because of that, which isn’t really ideal. I have had to cut way back on what type of special orders I will take – it has to be very inline with my other work. I guess the strangest thing I have made are pet urns, but I have made urns for people as well, including my Grandma’s, which was very special for me.
Would you say there is a common theme in your work?
Yep, everything I’ve made for the past several years is woodland and garden inspired – birds, squirrels, hedgehogs, mushrooms, flowers, oak and ginkgo leaves.
Are you a member of the Richmond Craft Mafia? If so, what can you tell me about the organization and your involvement?
I have been a member of the Richmond Craft Mafia for about four years now. The Richmond Craft Mafia is based on the original Craft Mafia in Austin, Texas. We are basically a craft-business networking group, but we are also pretty well-known in Richmond for the two indie craft shows we put on – Spring Bada-Bing and Handmade Holiday. I’m point-person for Handmade Holiday, putting on a craft show is a lot of work, but it has taught me so much!
Did you become involved with Spring Bada-Bing because of the Richmond Craft Mafia or was it the other way around?
Actually I was volunteer at the first Spring Bada-Bing, not too long after I moved to Richmond. Several of the Craft Mafia members encouraged me to apply to join the group that day. I was lucky enough to be invited to join a few months later.
What do you like to do in your free time?
My husband and I bought our first home last Spring (we moved in the day before last year’s Spring Bada-Bing). I spend quite a bit of my free time working on home improvements and gardening. The house is also located a few blocks from the James River, so we also spend lots of time hiking and walking our Beagle.
What can people expect to see at Spring Bada-Bing this year in terms of what you’re bringing?
I will have my bird pottery ans my line of ceramic jewelry, as well as lots of new bits like my woodgrain series of platters and small trays.
Thanks to Tasha for talking with us! Stay tuned for more profiles on Spring Bada-Bing artists this week. To see a full list of vendors set to appear at Spring Bada-Bing, stop by their website.