Ceramicist Profile: Kristen Camp, Founder of Campfire Studio - Westbrook, Maine
Hi, Kristen. What’s the meaning of Campfire Studio?
We chose the name Campfire Studio for a few reasons, first and foremost our last name is Camp. We also love the connection between campfires and storytelling. We feel that pottery tells stories in the same way. The story of the maker, the people who own these pieces, and the culture they’re a part of.
When was CS born?
May 2015 we received our first large order from a local Flower Farmer. We made pitcher vases for the farm’s Mother’s Day bouquets. This gave us the seed money to build our Farmer’s Market booth, where we first started selling our work.
When did you know you wanted to be a ceramicist?
My sophomore year of college I took a ceramics class and fell in love with it.
What inspires you most about ceramics?
I love that clay has endless possibilities.
Tell us about a typical day.
Coffee. Work. Coffee. Repeat.
What’s the best part of your day?
I personally love the mornings where I get to skip over answering emails, just make my coffee and jump right into throwing with some Ben Howard playing. Just me, my wheel with music and coffee.
How do you balance work and life?
Good question. I still haven’t quite mastered this. I feel like the key has to be setting boundaries and giving yourself grace. It’s not always cut and dry where to draw the line between work and play.
What are the most challenging parts of being an business owner?
Wearing all of the hats. At least in the beginning, you’re required to run all the different aspects of your business, including things that may not be in your wheelhouse.
Describe yourself in 3 words.
Ambitious, Creative, Silly
Tell us which artists inspire you.
Lucie Rie is one of my favorites potters.
Any advice to share with young ceramic artists?
Ceramics is a very physical art. We work with a lot of chemicals and we spend our days doing things that are hard on our bodies. My advice to ceramic artists would be to learn how to protect and take of your body so that you are able to continue doing your work for as long as you desire. Your body is your most important tool so treat it that way.
Describe the Raku process featured in your products.
Raku is an ancient Japanese firing technique where you fire your pieces in an outdoor kiln and pull the pieces out once the glaze has reached its melting point. The pieces are then placed in a metal can with combustibles and covered. This allows a reduction to take place creating metallic details and a crackle effect due to the thermal shock.
What’s your fav current design?
We love the everything Raku.
Favorite place you’ve traveled.
A: Venice. Joe and I had the privilege of getting to visit Italy last year. Despite the masses of tourist there is something magical about the streets of Venice with its elaborate architecture and water filled canals.
Describe the artistic community in Portland, Maine. Can you give an example of how the community has influenced your work, designs, or process?
Portland is an extremely supportive and creative community. The “support the locals” mentality has given me the encouragement and motivation I needed to start my business and to keep it going.
What are your hopes for the Female Not Factory community?
I’m excited to have the chance to meet and connect with the other makers and women in the FNF community.