I was featured on Apartment G's blog yesterday! Apartment G is a great online shop that donates part of their proceeds to Kiva so women around the world can have access to loans to help them build self-sustaining creative businesses. You can read the full blog below or read the blog on her website here.
INTERVIEW WITH CERAMICIST GOPI SHAH
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
I would call myself happy right now, and the things that are making me happy are the ability to create something that people really enjoy and treasure, that I am able to do something I love and share it with a greater audience, and that I have an incredible support system between my partner, friends, and family. There was a craft show I did where a woman bought a set of tumblers from me for her and her husband’s anniversary. In that moment I was overjoyed because I knew that this woman and her husband would cherish these cups forever and they would symbolize their love for each other. Making something that can be that important to another person is incredible.
What is your biggest fault?
One of my biggest faults is that I get inside my head a lot and do not feel confident with what I may be creating. I think a lot of artists have some degree of this, and what keeps me motivated is creating new forms or trying new techniques in the studio.
What got you started as an artist?
I really loved pottery in high school and took classes with an incredible mentor and teacher. It is not an easy craft to keep up with if you do not have access to equipment, so during college and a few years after it, it was a struggle for me to be in a studio. However, that changed when I moved to Santa Monica and had access to a great studio space. When we moved to Austin, my partner encouraged me to start my own business since he knew I loved ceramics (and also because he thought it calmed me down a lot and made me more sane!). I have met some amazing people here who have also helped tremendously with my growth as an artist.
What is your definition of success?
Success has to do with well-being, intent, and refinement in addition to the more traditional definition of success. I feel successful when I am happy. Being happy comes from when I am working and the finished product is something I truly love. That product comes from a process of intent and refinement.
When are you the most creative?
Creativity can strike at any time. I find myself most creative when I am in my studio just playing with new forms or designs. One paint stroke can lead to another, and I can have an entire new design just like that. I tend to get inspiration from everyday life, so I will take photos to remind myself of a new idea when I get one.
Which talent would you most like to have?
I think having one talent may be enough! I love the patience required for working with clay and the meditation I get from wheelthrowing. If I were to have a superhuman ability, I would love to have animal mimicry so that I would be able to explore our world from different perspectives native to a particular region.
What’s your worst habit as an artist?
I tent to forget to eat and then get famished and eat everything in sight! Sometimes I just get so caught up in what I am working on, I forget to take breaks. Then I realize, and nothing edible near me is safe.
What do you do first thing in the morning?
I wake up and stay in bed for an hour thinking about what I want to accomplish that day.
What is your most treasured possession?
I do not know if I have a most treasured possession; however, I do love all my plants and treat them like my little babies. When we were relocating to Austin from Los Angeles, I filled our hatchback with all our plants so they would have sun and be warm instead of being locked up in a storage unit for a week. Luckily we moved to a place that has a similar climate, so my succulents are doing well.
What is your favorite or most inspirational place?
One of my favorite places is Big Sur in California. I love the drive to get there (you can see elephant seals and go wine tasting!), the bakery in Big Sur, and the ability to camp in such a beautiful forest while having a gorgeous beach so close by. It has everything I love – sweets, mountains, and the ocean.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
To be true to myself and my vision. People will see the love you put into a product and love it as much as you do for that reason.