“There’s nothing like opening a kiln,” says Anna Eaves, a ceramicist from North Carolina in the USA. “People compare it to Christmas morning, but it’s better!” The first time Anna experienced it, she became hooked. Her mother, an artist and potter, had encouraged her to make something. To appease her, Anna made a cream and sugar set under her instruction. “It wasn’t until I opened the kiln after the glaze firing and saw my finished work that something just clicked,” she says. “Art and creating has always been part of my life, and as soon as I left my day job, my mind had room to breathe and create and I just started making things.” At first she created succulent wreaths and when she shared the projects on her blog, Anna received enquiries to purchase them. After opening an Etsy shop she became hooked on ceramics and now Arrow and Sage retails and wholesales around the world, including to The Assembly Co in Australia.
Which five words best describe you? Creative, loyal, joy seeker, artistic, headstrong.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? Leaving my 9-5 kickstarted everything. I’m so thankful to have a husband who is supportive of my dreams and desires. He knew all along that I needed to create and make things with my hands. I just started making things, and then took the next step when it was available. That’s how I plan to move forward. Keep creating, keep making, keep doing the next thing one step at a time.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Striving for perfection is an unhealthy way of living. I’m naturally a perfectionist, and very detail oriented. Working with clay has taught me so much about life and letting go and embracing imperfection. There’s a lot of loss with pottery. There are so many steps in the process where things can and do go wrong. Letting go of things and letting things be as they are is a crucial thing to learn when working with clay, but also in daily life. It’s a healthier way for me to live.
What’s your proudest career achievement? Shipping my first wholesale order to Sydney, Australia. The fact that different people and shops around the world have an interest in and love for my work is incredibly humbling.
What’s been your best decision? Learning how and when to say no. You cannot do it all. There’s a difference between being a large-scale production studio, and being a small batch, handmade studio. I work without an assistant, and I design and make by hand every single piece that comes from my studio. That may or may not change in the future, but for now that’s how I plan to continue working.
Who inspires you? My mother, truly. She just sees things, and ideas, and concepts and decides she can do that, and she does. She is so creative and grounded and full of life and love. She gives all of those things freely to those around her. I’m also inspired by all the creativity of the independent makers and doers and shopkeepers I’ve met over the past few months. All of these people just doing it. It’s beyond inspiring!
What are you passionate about? Being deeply rooted in love for others and faith, and making art to put out in the world.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? So many! When my husband and I bought our first home I received a beautiful table from my granny that we will treasure and keep in the family forever. It was made by hand by my great, great, great grandfather. I would like to meet him.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? I feel very full right now. Inspired. It would be a dream to continue working with clay, and maybe one day even have a space outside of our home to work and sell my work from.
What are you reading? Currently nothing! But I have a list of books to read on summer vacations. For easy reading I like John Grisham novels. I also loved A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live by Emily P. Freeman, and want to read Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv.
images courtesy of arrow and sage