Monday, January 3, 2011

Interview with the artist - Joan Miller Porcelain

By N Valentine Studio

Featured artist - Joan Miller from Joan Miller Porcelain, Fleetwood, PA

Joan Miller is one Etsy artist I have had in my favorites since my very first days on Etsy. I must admit I was thrilled when she agreed to do this non-SATeam interview.

The very first thing that drew me to her work was her sugar skull beads. Their toothy grins really made me want to smile a toothy grin, and her colors are always bright. Her dolls always make me wonder at the detail and I can see them hanging above a work station, sending good creative karma.
My current favorite is her Amore Heart bead, there are also bees and some music notes in this same style. They say "old world" to me, something that's been around through the ages and has many stories to tell.

How long have you been working in your medium?
22 years.

What drew you to this medium?
I have always loved working in clay. I didn't really find my direction while in art school, but it gave me a great foundation. After graduation I found myself drifting and not knowing what to do. I took a class at a local art center that was near my home and the rest is history.

What is your favorite thing about your art?
The unlimited possibilities of ceramic art. I think they are even broader on the small scale of beads because you can really push the boundaries of what clay can do.

What's your favorite piece?
It changes constantly. Usually whatever I am working on that is new to me or takes a little different direction.

What's the hardest piece you've ever made?
I really don't think of any piece as hard to make. Time consuming: yes. Some of the pieces I make would have been hard for me to make five years ago.
Longevity in a single media hopefully gives one mastery in a large number of techniques, so there is usually a way to bring an idea into being without too much struggle.

What's the one favorite tool you cannot live without?
Small detail and liner brushes. I buy them by the dozens and there are still favorites as I break them in. Sometimes losing a hair or two makes them perfect, but it never lasts.

What's your favorite thing about your workspace or studio?
Well, there I am a bit lacking. My studio is a jumbled mess crammeds in a 10 x 11 bedroom. Guess my favorite thing is I really don't need much more than 6' table space to do my work. My other favorite thing that is frequently in my studio space is my dogs.

What is your other craft?
Assembling jewelry, but other than wiring my doll pendants together I don't get to do a lot of it.

Who or what inspires you?
I am very process inspired, but certain popular images always sneak in or a customer asks me to do something and I find I really like it.

What's your favorite inspirational saying?
I don't have a specific saying, but as an artist working and selling for 2 decades there have been ups and downs. The downs used to really get me down until one day I realized when things are going really well business-wise you don't have time to experiment and be really creative. You wind up doing what is already working and new ideas go on the back burner. Since then I have learned to cherish the slow times and take advantage of the creative opportunities they provide. So my saying would be "Cherish the slow times".

What's one thing you've never done you always wanted to do?
Right now electroform on ceramic beads. I bought supplies (three years ago) to do it, but haven't gotten around to it.

The SATeam blog features artisan handmade creations by the etsy starving artists jewelry team. SATeam members create handcrafted jewelry and beads. More information about our team and its current etsy shop owner members can be found at


mcstoneworks said...

Great interview. Love the dragonfly pieces. Thank you Nicole for featuring Joan and her fantastic porcelain work.

Cat said...

So interesting!

BeadSire said...

Fabulous interview - I adore those porcelain dolls - just beautiful

Bonnie said...

Thanks Nicole for introducing us to Joan and her art. I enjoy her use of color in these whimsical designs.

Carole said...

Those ceramic beads are just gorgeous. Thanks for featuring this artist.

Nicole Valentine-Rimmer said...

I love Joan's work, it's so bright and happy!

Tasha said...

An amazing artist. Thank you for an insight to your work Joan.

Rita alias alatvian said...

Many thanks to both of you for sharing!