Watch: Studio Visit with Risa Nishimori

An Interview with Ali Gibbons of Line Line Co.

Can you share with us a bit about how you got into ceramics? What drew you to them?

I loved the feeling of clay and how quickly you can work through ideas in clay. I first remember digging iron rich clay from a river bank near my grandma's home in Washington state that I brought all the way back to Arizona to play with. I know my family noticed, including my Uncle who was an artist and ceramicist, and started encouraging me with air dry clay and paint.

I then took my first ceramics class in middle school, again in high school, and decided to major in both ceramics and painting in college.

How do you balance ceramics and painting?

I found that the two ways of thinking, in 3D and 2D, balance each other in that when I'm burnt out on ceramics, I'm still able to create paintings and vice versa. Working in both clay and paint keeps me moving because even if I'm not feeling motivated, there are always pots to glaze and canvases to stretch.

What was the inspiration behind this collection? Why lines? How did they start?

In college I made very smooth, simple pots with clean lines in porcelain. While living in North Carolina, I was using new coarse iron rich clay bodies and searching for even more texture as a way to let go of some rigidity. I think ultimately I was inspired by an unglazed pot my uncle and I made together back in high school that has a few vertical lines cutting through colored slip to reveal the clay body. It's a prized possession.

Spending time with you, it's obviously apparent that your work is a true expression of your self. What sort of encouragement would you have for people who are still trying to find their artistic identity?

Working through ideas often means making the same piece over and over again. The gentle repetition keeps me moving and engaged with the little differences that can end up turning into breakthroughs. It's rare that I take a large leap in my work but instead try to let things grow on their own over time. I'm in no rush and you can't rush pottery, it will find a way to remind you it takes time (cracking, warping, exploding, etc.).

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