Erin Ryan | Episode 327
Erin Ryan was born and raised in southern California. She has been working in clay for 10 years and received her BFA in Ceramics and BSED in Art Education from Northern Arizona University in 2015. Her work has been exhibited in numerous galleries and is also sold online. Erin is excited and inspired to be making work, as she grows her career in the ceramic arts. Currently, Erin is an MFA candidate at Indiana University.
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After talking about people critiquing us, how do you keep yourself centered and being true to what your own inner critique is saying?
A lot of meltdowns and a lot of pick-me-back-ups. I think really evaluating why I am here in the first place because I can receive a lot of critiques that say do this or don’t do this. Remaining true to what I originally love about ceramics and making and the process and the surface. I think sometimes I need to revert back to my very early days when critiques were not as important or involved in my work and understand what I was enjoying back then.
How do you keep developing your style and finding the various nuances of your work to stay interested in it?
A lot of experimentation. I have to say I struggle with trying new things. I am a person of habit and I love feeling in my comfort zone. So trying new things and sometimes those are baby steps, trying out a new form or trying out of new color pattern. Sometimes those small steps lead to big successes. Sometimes not, but I think the combination of all these little steps is what really changes a body of work for me. No matter how much my work evolves it is important to me that it always reads as an Erin Ryan piece.
How important is it for you to throw away work?
Very. I get rid of a lot of pieces. I get bored of my work rather quickly and I don’t know if that is because I am continuously excited about the newest thing coming and then over time the older work dissipates. It is important to go through those phases. If I am unable to sell my work or donate it to something then I will definitely clear it out. I “spring clean” my studio every month to try and get fresh perspective on what I am doing.
Do you keep pieces you feel are the cream of the crop?
No, I wouldn’t say that I necessarily do that. I have maybe three or four of my own pieces at home.
How important are sales to you?
In my head it is the ability to pass work on to their new home, as opposed to the actual money-making side of it. Obviously that is a huge benefit to selling work but I am not as reliant on my ability to sell things. I am just as happy selling a piece as I am in gifting it in some way.
Do you have a favorite tool that you use in your studio?
I do. My little slip-trailing bottles are my favorite tools. It is how I get all this really precise line work. I have them for every single color of underglaze that I own.
What is your favorite underglaze company?
I use Amaco Velvet underglazes.
Last question for you: You are looking ten years into the future, what is the perfect life for you, in ten years? What are you doing?
Teaching ceramics adjunct at a University. I really love Bloomington. My husband and I just bought a house here and I could absolutely see myself staying here. And having a studio at home so that I can always be making in some way, shape, or form.