Welcome to our first issue of "Meet a Member!"
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Meet Jennifer Yates!
Name: Jennifer A. Yates
Years Working in Clay: 26 years getten’ dirty
Type of Work Made: Functional Wheel thrown, sculpted Anagama Fired Porcelain "Form with Function"
Where do you live? Island County, Whidbey Island
Favorite Tool: Kiln is my favorite tool - atmoshperic (I love firing with a group of women at the big butt Anagama)
Trick/Tip: Love it or Leave it
How did you get your start? I started in eighth grade. Fell in love with clay. Majored it in college, learned about industry through a summer apprenticeship.
Art jobs: Studio Assistant for six full time potters, Ceramic technician at a college, Substitute teacher for pottery instructor at a college, Fired kilns for a few businesses, Taught wheel throwing, tile making for a business, running my own fine art business and teaching pottery/metals for over 16 years.
Advice: Gotta love doing it or you won't be happy. A costly medium
Inspiration: Mother nature, boats, food service, kids I teach
Most inspiration comes on the water boating or in the forest or looking at things under a microscope or loupe
Favorite forms: Thrown on the potter’s wheel then cut and sculpt. Meditation with throwing and creating one of a kind work from that, showing/creating fine art is important to me. I realized I did not want to be a production potter since I felt like a factory worker, was losing my inspiration by trying to survive and I really missed people. I made a major change and became a full-time teacher where I get a lot of inspiration from others and I could go back to the studio creating what I wanted instead of what I had to survive.
I always tell my students to create from what inspires them in life. Likes interests. What you live for, symbols that reflect that.
Many pieces are inspired by custom orders and shows with a theme. It makes me think outside my box and I like this! In the past few years I began studying mycology and that has had a major influence on my designs.
Marketing? The smartest thing I've ever done is bridal registration. I was getting checks as I was creating and many times with full dinnerware sets the order became bigger than intended.
Other marketing tips: Either make your work for others/orders or make it for yourself and try to sell it. Figure out how you want to make your income and what makes you the happiest.
Most popular items are bowls and cups, everyone wants one. My favorite are to create boats and bowls. I've learned from living in different parts of the country that potters on the west coast are significantly under-appreciated and valued by the general public, which in my professional opinion stems from lack of art education with the public through k-12 public school art programs