Courtney Puig’s passion is to create with clay, to chase her ideas, and strive to perfect her process. At Fort Collins High School in 2000 Courtney was introduced to clay. It was not until 2013 that Courtney began to pursue the craft seriously at Lightwave Pottery on Kaua’i. Dean McRaine supports many clay artists on island. With a nudge from Dean Courtney took a leap, invested in a kiln, and began creating on her lanai. In the years that followed Courtney sold her work at markets to travelers and local residents, collaborated with businesses, and was represented by two galleries. In the summer of 2016, Courtney traveled to Copenhagen for a week workshop with Eric Landon. In December of 2016 Courtney had several of her pieces make it into the Ceramics of Hawaii state exhibition. At the beginning of 2017, through Instagram, David Kuraoka reached out inquiring about Courtney’s clay body, experience and he eventually offered suggestions on how to improve. He said Courtney was learning in the dark and encouraged her to attend NCECA in Portland. That trip opened Courtney’s eyes to this field, was overwhelmingly inspirational, and motivated Courtney to make a big change.
Courtney is taking community classes at the Boulder Potters Guild and the Boulder Pottery Lab. Courtney just completed a group salt firing at the guild. Courtney’s mind is bubbling with ideas and is grateful to be working alongside others instead of in isolation. Courtney has leased a studio space at the Boulder Creative Collective where she will set up shop and create daily. In 2018 Courtney is excited to begin the pursuit of a formal education in ceramics.
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Where does creativity come from? Are you born with it or is it developed?
Developed. Trusting your instincts and going with your gut and when it strikes just capturing it. Making a sketch, taking a note and following through.
When someone says to you, I haven’t got a creative bone in my body, what do you say?
That is the story you are telling yourself.
You post really consistently on Instagram. What is your marketing strategy?
To have an authentic voice and to educate people about the process so they can understand the craft.
What is your favorite part of making? Is it the throwing, the glazing, the firing…?
Throwing definitely. Trimming. I am learning more about trimming and how important that is. But throwing definitely.
How important is keeping old customers returning?
I think it is important to stay connected and to have a mailing list so that you can communicate with your old customers, just to at least let them know you are unloading your kiln. The people that purchases your work, it connects you and the work you create becomes a part of their life.
How do you go about gaining new customers?
Slowly but surely. Instagram has been wonderful. In that encouraging your customers to share your pieces on their Instagram and tag you in it so that your network is broader.
What is your favorite thing to do with your daughter?
Cook. She loves to cook and so do I. If we can share a meal together and unwind after school it would be definitely creating in the kitchen.
Anam Cara by John O’ Donohue