Her process is totally unique from anything I have encountered before, using found items, disposable packaging, and even "trash" to make her molds! Each piece has a story behind it, which is always something I love. :) Also, she is having a studio sale this Saturday, which you will not want to miss. There is more info at the bottom of the post, if you love her work as much as I do!
Tell me a little bit about yourself!
I have an MFA from Otis College of Art & Design, the invaluable part of which was studying under Ralph Bacerra. He was a true mentor whose questions and challenges inform my practices daily. In teaching glaze chemistry, he encouraged experimentation, and to never fire a glaze kiln without testing new glazes. He is greatly missed.
I believe that my earliest influence for art making was my Grandmother. Grandma's house was a place where whimsy lived. At her house, cookies were made in the shapes of rabbits and Kuchen dough was tied into birds topped with maple frosting. My sister and I would beg for the stories she made up involving the adventures of two little girls. I think that must be where the questions of "what if?!" began for me. What if I make "this" out of "that"? We sewed our clothes growing up, the furniture in my room was handmade, so it went without question that anything was possible.
Where did the name of your store come from?
My shop name is my name - Tricia Ree. The Ree part is a name my Dad made up from my mom's name, Rita.
Why did you start making goods for Tricia Ree?
I started making porcelain functional ware, in part, to fill the spaces of the kiln between sculpture I was making. Gradually, the functional ware began to take over the kiln space! I love that my work could add a bit of whimsy and fun into someone's everyday life. I also love that the molds I make are from everything from trash to family heirlooms.
What is your favorite item?
I really love the cream and sugar sets - the two pieces together form a bit of a conversation. Also, thinking of using a cream & sugar set denotes a moment of relaxation, or making a space where friends are together to share a cup of coffee or spot of tea. Lately I have added images onto the ware, which I try to coordinate in theme with the top knob on the lid of the sugar bowl.
Truth be told, the item that brings me joy every day is my own butter dish (bright turquoise with a purple elephant) Since it has a glaze defect, I brought it into the house to use.
What are your most popular items?
Piggy Banks, Butter Dishes and Cream & Sugar Sets would probably be a three way tie.
Where do you get the inspiration for your work?
I love that I'm taking things from the fringes of life - the things that have been discarded - and turning them into something beautiful and useful once again. I love the interplay of the various parts that make up one piece, and the story that this tells. Visually, I love edges, and the way the glazes break on the high points and pool in the recesses. So I'm always looking for interesting forms that will facilitate that glaze break on the finished piece. I experiment with glazes a lot, and make all my own glazes from raw materials.
What makes your store unique?
I don't know anyone who makes pieces via this process. The story embedded in each pieces, and the look of the glazes are both rich and whimsical at the same time.
What is the toughest part about making your goods/your artistic process?
The whole process is not only long, but exacting. From making the molds, to making the porcelain slip, casting the slip, handbuilding everything together, applying the images, sanding the greenware, bisque firing, sanding again, glazing and glaze firing: there's not room for error. In loading the bisque kiln yesterday, I thought I measured the height of the kiln post correctly, but when I put the shelf on top of the kiln post I found I had miss-measured. The kiln post was a bit too short so the shelf was actually on a butter dish, which it crushed.
Here's two pictures of the last glaze kiln firing- one before and one after the firing. What looks like magic is truly the science of what happens when specific blends of raw materials are fused into glaze at 2350°. The process of glazing and firing is something I am quite precise and practiced at, and yet still remains a mystery and a matter of experimentation after all these years.
This picture is of a kiln load with raw glazes, yet unfired.
This picture is of the exact same kiln load, after the firing.
Do you take custom orders?
We do, though there it takes over a month to fill an order because every piece is made from scratch, and it's a rather long process. Due to the reduction atmosphere in which the pieces are fired, the glazes do no come out the same each time. Our policy is that the customer pays in full before the piece is made. There is also a 20% increase in price. Custom made items may not be returned.
When is the last day I can order in time for Christmas Day?
The 21st would be the last day for local people who can just swing by and pick it up. The 17th would be the last day for ordering from the etsy store, unless the customer is willing to pay for expedited shipping.
Where can I see more of your work and buy a gift?
Will you be having any shows soon, so I can see hello?
I am having an Open Studio Holiday Sale on December 7th, from 11:00 am to 4:00pm at the new studio space.
2320 E. 1st Street
Long Beach, CA 90803
2320 E. 1st Street
Long Beach, CA 90803
Anything else to add?
Thank you for featuring me! I'm very thankful to be doing this work, and creating beauty and joy that is lasting and which may become heirlooms in their own rights.
Any of her creative pieces would be perfect as a holiday gift! The serving platters would be great hostess gifts, and if you have something completely different in mind, remember she does custom work. If you are local, you should definitely check out her Open Studio Holiday Sale on Saturday to take a peek at her unique pieces and buy a gift or two!