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Art & Life with Desiree Hernandez

Today we’d like to introduce you to Desiree Hernandez.

Desiree, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
Growing up, I had no idea that I would end up not only being a teacher, but also a ceramicist. I grew up in the country riding horses thinking my future was going to involve working with animals in some way. All of that changed when I moved to the suburbs of Temecula in high school. While there, I was lucky enough to have a school that had an art department with multiple types of art classes, my favorites being photography and 3D Art. Eventually I decided that I wanted to go to school for art, but had no clue what I would be able to do with a degree in art. I applied and attended California State University, Long Beach and was accepted into their Pre-Photography program. During my first year, I knew that photography was not for me and not something that I wanted to pursue and decided that I wanted to change my major to Art Education, mainly because I knew that I could take all the different art mediums so that I could figure out what I liked and could change my major again if I wanted. While in the program, I had to teach an art based summer camp and it was the first time I would be teaching children from elementary to high school and I was so nervous! I ended up loving it and decided this was my calling and something that I actually enjoyed doing. Throughout my time at CSULB I was able to take an array of art classes, from oil painting to metals and jewelry making. The moment I got my hands on clay I knew this was it. This was something I wanted to pursue and what I ultimately wanted to teach. I fell in love with being able to create functional objects by hand and to put my heart and soul into the work. Although I was just a beginner, it excited me to be able to work with this kind of medium and knew I had the ability to grow with this as well. I eventually finished My BA in Art Education in 2012 and went on to receive my teaching credential in 2013 from CSULB. I started my first teaching job as a ceramics teacher in 2014 and have been with the same school since. I have recently started working in a WOC Pottery Studio in Echo Park and have been actively creating work, starting up a website, and selling work via Etsy. I feel like this is all just the beginning for me and am very excited for my next steps in my career as a ceramic artist.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I create functional ceramic ware that incorporates design techniques including sgraffito, inlay, and the addition of gold lustre. I want to create work that people use for a specific purpose where it can be utilized in their everyday life. I wheel throw all of my work, while also incorporating hand drawn, hand carved, and hand painted pieces, making each piece completely unique. I love having each piece be their own, as they are all considered individuals to me. Each piece I create gives me a feeling of being home. I put my heart into my work, as I want the people who own them to love them as much as I do. I want people to hold and use them, have them be the specific cup they use for their morning coffee, the vase they put their favorite flowers in. My process takes a lot of time and energy, making each piece a type of therapy for myself. I could spend hour’s hand painting petals or carving my favorite flower, the peony.

How do you think about success, as an artist, and what do quality do you feel is most helpful?
Personally, I would define success as being able to execute an idea. Creating work is a challenge in itself. I feel that as an artist you are continuously growing and evolving in your practice. Ideas are always changing and when you as an artist get to that moment of saying to yourself “yes! This is it!” then I feel like that is the feeling that makes me feel like I have finally reached that goal. For me, I have been searching for years to finally get to a place I am happy with and would consider successful. Not because I sell my work, but because I have found a style and technique that work for me personally. I feel like allowing yourself to grow is something that is extremely important in becoming successful. Also understanding that you are going to not be happy with your work a lot of the time. Staying humble while creating is key! And then when you do end up reaching that “yes!” moment, you know you are going to be starting that process all over again with your new ideas.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
You can see my process and finished work on my Instagram @sonerapottery. I also have a website and sell my work via Etsy. I also offer the opportunity to commission work by contacting me through my website or through Instagram.

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