A few weeks ago, I discovered Viola Beuscher’s beautiful ceramic pieces on Instagram. She had a lovely reply to the message I sent her, and that led to us meeting in her light-filled kitchen a couple of days later. Viola is lovely and warm; full of energy, she pays attention to every little detail (she confesses to being a picky about details!. All in spite of the very little sleep she’s currently allowing herself, staying up very late making pieces for commissions and upcoming markets she’s showing at. Six months ago she decided to take further the love for ceramics she’d discovered over the last two years and start her own business — she calls it tiny and I think it has huge heart. We chatted over coffee and cake, talking about how she got started, how she curates her beautiful Instagram feed and her advice for starting your own creative business.
/ What is it about ceramic as a medium that drew you to it?
Working in crafts means complete focus on your hands, your materials and all your senses to produce a final product. It forces you to let go of thoughts about everything else besides what you’re doing in that moment. To me it’s something like focused meditation, which I enjoy a lot. Also I love how clay reacts and how it never forgets the way you treat it; how it demands sensitivity and patience. It asks for your mental presence.
At the moment, crafts in general are experiencing a comeback and people are becoming more perceptive to them, quite often because of their ‘slow living’ aspect that gives one the feeling of living consciously. And also a sense of tangibility, because, at the end of the day you have a finished product in your hands. I fully imbibe this aspect and feel like working as a ceramicist gives me back all these meaningful feelings to live a more balanced life.
/ Could you briefly describe how one of your pieces comes to life?
Before I start making a piece I think about what I want to do; about color, shape, material (different types of clay) and function. Since clay never forgives skipped work steps, all of them need to be performed with equal relevance. The first step of making any piece of pottery is wedging the clay to give it a circular shape for the potter's wheel. This ball I put on my wheel, where I center it, open it up and pull the walls to give shape to a form. Once this is done, the pot has to dry for around 12 hours before I can add final touches like setting a foot ring. It then air-dries for almost two weeks in my atelier. The next step is the first firing in a kiln, after which I apply the glaze and it goes back to the kiln for the second time. When the piece comes out, it’s ready to be used.
/ What is the most fulfilling thing for you about working for yourself and having your own business?
Before I came up with the idea to start my own business, I had never felt a lot passion or love for what I did at work or at university. Now I can work in creative freedom, calculate my own hours and set priorities. As hard as that can be, it is still a source of great joy as I am genuinely passionate about what I do. So I am lucky to work for my business — that I love — and really can’t ask for anymore than that. In the end, I feel the most happiness when I open the door to my studio, feel clay on my hands and hear the sound of the potter's wheel in my ears.
/ How do you keep yourself motivated? Do you have sources of creativity that you find yourself drawing on from time to time?
I am definitely a workaholic, but as much as I love my job, I need time for myself to calm down and recharge my batteries. So sometimes I take a mid-morning off to have a long breakfast, go to bookstores or meet friends. What I also find very motivating are friends and people that have chosen the same path and that share their experiences. Frankfurt is full of young creatives and I really appreciate how they support and involve each other in their respective businesses.
/ Your instagram feed is so beautiful: could you tell us a little about the inspiration behind it?
I didn’t really think a lot about a structure or a theme for my Instagram feed. I love the minimal and the raw, so that is what happened when capturing my ceramics for Instagram. A short while ago, I started working with Diana Pfammatter, an amazing photographer that I admire. She has an amazing feeling for light in general and highlighting inherent characteristics of my ceramics. She took some images that I’ve since used on Instagram and will be working with me on my upcoming webshop.
/ Do you have any advice for someone wanting to start their own creative business?
The most important part is to be passionate about what you do and about your product, because that motivates you and keeps your spirit alive. It also helps you to find and inspire customers. Since I just started my tiny business, to me it’s very important to talk to close friends and family about the good and the bad. I’ve found that not verbalising what I’ve done in the past few days often means I stop appreciating what I’ve built and achieved. Also, it helps me not to be overwhelmed with all the new things that are currently happening every single day!
/ Are there any products in our store that caught your eye?
Yes! Here are my absolute favourites:
/ Scarpa Oversized Clutch: I'm in love with the colorway of this clutch! Perfect for summer outfits or for bringing sun back into the current winter days.
/ Drop platter: This is what I want to use for breakfast every morning!
/ Kantha silk sari scarf: This is 100% India to me - the scarf's red color makes me want to wear it casually with an oversized white Shirt and black pants.
Thank you so much for your time Viola. We wish you lots of luck with your beautiful business.
See more of Viola’s work on her beautiful Instagram feed (through which you can also place orders!) and meet her in person at the Marche Nuit on 21st April and at the Stijl Markt from 5 - 6th May 2018.
Cover image: Diana Pfammater I Other images: Vatsala Murthy