California native, Jessie DuBois is an inspiration to us all. We had the honor to chat with Jessie about her creative journey and the beautiful inspiration behind her work – so much which is led by her touching experience with her family. Jessie’s passion so clearly shines through her work and it’s no surprise that she is one of the most dynamic women we know. Our team is honored to carry her products in our shops, which you can peruse here. Without further ado, take a seat with Jessie DuBois.
Tell us about your journey. How did you become a ceramicist/artist?
I would say the beginning started with me growing up surrounded by pottery. My grandparents ran a pottery school since before I was born, but every time I was at their house I would be around their friends who were also potters, along with the incredible work that filled their home. The full story of their amazingness is one for another time, but this was definitely the foundation that embedded clay into my core from the start.
I, personally, was always more drawn to painting most of my life, and studied painting prior to somehow ending up with a career as a wardrobe stylist. Time went on, and as my grandfather got older he developed Alzheimer’s and as he got worse I decided to take a few pottery classes. As his disease progressed, he became less capable of speaking, but when I would bring him my work he would light up and somehow remember pottery, and how to talk about it. It was pretty incredible.
Six months after my grandfather passed, my grandparents land burned down in one of the lighting complex fires of Northern California. Not only did most of our family lose their homes – but all of their incredible friends did as well. It’s hard to describe how special this land was to my family – but up until then it was this kind of meeting place where you could stop by for dinner and run into some of the greatest most inspiring people you would ever meet in your life. The fire felt like it not only destroyed houses, but all of the years of colorful stories and incomparable moments too.
I felt like I had to find a way to preserve (read: cope with losing) this land somehow through pottery, and shortly after it burned down I discovered that there was actually the most incredible clay making up its entirety! Once I discovered the elemental side of the medium, something switched in my brain, and I felt as though I could dedicate my entire life to clay and it still wouldn’t be enough time. I knew I had to leave my career as a stylist, which was terrifying because I had built up a name for myself, had an agent, all of the things. But I got to a point where I just truly felt that any amount of money wasn’t worth it if I wasn’t happy.
Aaaand it was also around this time that I had a baby, which underscored my perspective on my mortality. If I was leaving my child for work every day – with this one life that I had, it better be something that I loved to do. And here I am! There’s nothing that I would rather be doing, and each day I somehow continue to love it more.
What inspires you daily?
I feel so fortunate to be surrounded by such incredible artists in my day-to-day, and whether we’re all making different types of pottery or creating using a different medium altogether, each conversation I have these days seems to be one that leaves me so excited about life!
What makes your work stand out to you?
I really love making my work, so I hope that my passion towards the process shines through. I am also always critiquing my work and looking for ways to push myself and find my next stride as an artist, and I hope that shows too.
What does a day-in-the-work-life look like for you?
Oh wow, no two days are the same. I think that as a ceramic artist people have a misconception that we are always in the studio making making, but there is so much time spent writing emails, running errands, having meetings… I do try my best to spend as much of 9am-5pm in the studio when I can, and have my rhythm of which days I throw or handbuild, which I trim, glaze, sand, etc. Then I try to save emails and computer work or anything to do with my shop (oh yeah, I also have a little pottery shop!) for night time once I put my kiddo to bed.
In honor of Women’s History Month, could you share who has been the most impactful woman in your life or career and why?
My mother for showing me how to love a child with an infinite amount of warmth, and for making sure art was the most important thing in this world aside from love. My grandmother for living an entire life TRULY dedicated to art and beauty of surroundings; for being the coolest, most colorful, most authentic person I, or probably anyone, has ever met.
Favorite place to visit to spark inspiration?
The High Desert, the California Coast, a gathering at my grandmother’s house.
Color or neutrals?
Both need the other to ground each other, but a life without color would be too bland for me!
One product that is always in your bag?
My Lulu Organics chapstick (that looks like a glue stick) and some Everyday Oil.
Favorite space in your home?
Definitely around the dining table (bonus points if its with a good meal and a funky bottle of wine!)
Your current favorite item from your collection at Shoppe?
Definitely the Lantos Lamp! I love this piece so much. And I use the cappuccino mug daily, so this one is a favorite as well!