Interview with Regina Mandell
October's Featured Maker: Forged and Found
October 8, 2015
I am so excited to bring you this month's featured maker! Regina Mandell of Forged & Found is a talented ceramic artist. Well let me just step aside and allow her to share more about herself!
GG: When people ask you what you ‘do’, how do you answer?
RM: This is a big question and answer for me because in the past I was always quick to answer with whatever job was currently paying the bills. Two years ago I had an eye-opening conversation with a good friend of mind on her memorable New Year’s Eve wedding. She told me how her husband urged her to start introducing herself as a costume designer (a business she was interning/breaking into). Once she did that, she quickly started making a living in that field. From that conversation on I have called myself an artist and designer because that truly is what I have been doing my entire adult life in one capacity or another.
GG: How did you get started in your medium?
RM: My interest in pottery started in high school. I went to a performing arts school and majored in instrumental music but I can clearly remember craning my neck to get a look inside the pottery studio there. It seemed so mysterious and serene to me. I finally took my first class in my early 20’s after getting laid off from a job and not having anything else to do. It was a relaxing way to pass time and express myself. I have returned to it at other times in my life when I needed a boost, distraction or focus. Most recently I started up again after a long-distance move as a way to engage my creativity and give myself some direction.
GG: What’s your creative process?
RM: My creative process usually starts with being inspired by observing something in nature, my travels or from other artists in all disciplines… potters, painters, musicians, what have you. I bring all of that to the studio and then set out with a basic goal for an object or form. Once the shape is thrown I let the piece grow organically from there. How its is trimmed, carved & glazed always works out to be a different process or end result. I enjoy producing minimal designs that have a rustic, bohemian feel. Though I admire it in other people’s work, perfectionism isn’t something I strive for. I embrace the naturally occurring, honest and uncontrolled parts of a piece.
GG: Where do you find your inspiration?
RM: See above ;)
GG: What do you do outside of your craft?
RM: I really love traveling. I never feel like I do it enough and I am always dreaming up my next itinerary. But when I am home I am a classic homebody. I love decorating, gardening, cooking (especially baking bread) and hanging out with my fiancé. A perfect night is a home cooked meal with a little wine or whiskey out on the porch swing with our pup.
GG: What is the best advice you were given when you started on your creative endeavor?
RM: When I was a child my grandmother sternly told me to never say “I can’t”. Those words regularly ring through my mind. I’d have to say that advice definitely inspires my creative process as well as my life in general.
GG: And for fun! How would you describe the who was your favorite Spice Girl?
RM: You know, I never got into the Spice Girls. I’m definitely more of a Madonna girl.
To learn more about Regina visit her website.