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Meet the Maker Month: Ellena of ElliePandaPottery

I am a ceramic artist based in Sudbury, Ontario. I started doing pottery in October of 2019 and knew immediately it was what I was meant to be doing with my life. My artistic efforts are mostly taken up by pottery but I very much enjoy making all kinds of arts including digital drawings, painting, crochet, and anything else that comes to mind! One of my favorite things to make in ceramics is paint palettes- the options are endless! An idea comes to mind and I immediately get to work.

Describe your latest project I am actually so excited about this upcoming collaboration with @whw_handmadewatercolours! We have come together to design a mini ceramic paint palette that she will be filling with three of her very own handmade watercolors! I am so proud of this project and can’t wait for everyone to see it.

What motivates you to create? Honestly, what motivates me to create is a very simple and complex idea at the same time: to do what I love for the rest of my life. I am incredibly driven to one day be completely be financially self-sufficient from my artistic endeavors. I want to do what I truly love in life forever! To be able to do that 100% of the time is the dream and I won’t stop until I achieve it.

How have you developed your skills? Practice, repetition, and time! Anything worth having is hard work. Nobody starts off perfect or amazingly successful! To develop a skill worth having takes an immense amount of practice. I still learn ceramics every single day, every single time I create. And I will for the rest of my life!

What does being a Maker mean to you? Being a maker means a lot of things to me. First of all, it means expressing my inner self emotionally along with artistically. They kind of go hand in hand with me. Having that freedom is so incredibly liberating. Being a maker also means to be sharing my art with the world. If I can make one person smile, laugh, or make any kind of difference in their day- that’s what being a maker is all about. Art is healing. Art is happiness (and sometimes sadness… that’s ok). Art is the biggest outlet in my life.

What themes do you pursue in your work? I don’t have a particular theme in my work, at least not at this point in my career. I make whatever makes my heart happy. I feel like that translates into my work and that’s why people tend to enjoy it.

What is your favorite thing you've created and why? Currently, my favorite ceramic thing I’ve ever created is my strawberry paint palette! He’s just so darn cute and makes my heart sing every time I make one or pack one up for order!

Tell us about your first sale I remember this like it was yesterday! My first sale to someone I didn’t know- I was just about to go to bed when my phone vibrated. I checked and it was a notification that I made a sale for a couple of paint palettes! My insides jolted! I was so excited- I ran downstairs and yelled at my partner and did a happy dance. What a magical moment in my artistic journey.

What is your dream project? My dream project is more on a grander scale than something super specific. I hope to have a commercial/retail space someday. A massive studio for my sanity but also to offer hand-building lessons and firing services.

Do you accept commissions? I do, I do! I love making custom paint palettes but do accept all kinds of custom work :) I love making people’s visions come to like.

What type of art do you like to consume? All kinds. Visual (YouTube and Instagram, video games), physical (paintings and home decor), literal (books). Everything is art if you want to get into the nitty-gritty.

How do your interests shift from one project to the next? I get inspiration from literally everything in life so it shifts quite often. I may watch a movie and see a pattern I quite like and want to interpret that as a design on a future project. Or talking with a friend about a particular subject an idea for a paint palette will pop into my mind!

What initially drew you to your craft? Ceramics has had a weird way of popping up into my life throughout the years so I have always had the unexplainable draw to try it. Ceramics is so cool because if you have an idea you can make anything. It’s also very permanent as anything you make can last thousands of years. That blows my mind that something I make will say many more lifetimes than I will.

What story do you want to tell with your work?

I want to tell a story of why it is so important to be creative. If I can inspire one person to do something creative then I find immersive happiness in that.

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