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Community Highlights: Meet Chloe Folger of No Ware Ceramics

Today we’d like to introduce you to Chloe Folger.

Hi Chloe, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
For me, my journey in ceramics really began when I started studying Studio Art at California State University, San Bernardino. After I graduated, I felt really conflicted because there were absolutely no job opportunities in ceramics in the High Desert. I felt so compelled to stay in my home town because the environment held such an importance to my creative identity. I wanted so badly to have a chance to showcase what I had learned and to improve my craft that I decided to try commuting and took an internship in LA at Luxs Eros, a small ceramics company where everything is hand-built. I stayed on as a production manager and commuted there for a year. From there, I got the opportunity to work in production for another studio, Mazamar Art Pottery, located in Pioneertown, California.

This job was almost like boot camp for throwing. The owners were so incredibly nice and really knew how to bring out the best work in people. I stayed on staff there for about two years and just recently took a job in Pomona working in a Glaze Lab at F & M Ceramics. After some time in working for others in production, I began to feel comfortable in my technical skills and started my own line of small-batch ceramics which is known as No Ware Ceramics and is based in Apple Valley. I just passed the one year anniversary of this business and I must say it has been such a crazy, awesome, and hard year (which I’m sure many people can relate to) and although sometimes it isn’t easy. I really can’t wait to see where it grows in the years to come!

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
There have definitely been some moments and aspects of my career that took some time to adjust and improve on. I didn’t want to have to sacrifice my desire to live in the desert, so I paid for it on a lot of highways. There would be days where I sat in the car longer that I would be working my actual shift. It would be frustrating, but I knew that if I wanted to be working in the industry, I would have to go to it, it’s not just gonna come to me. I also had some rough moments in the beginning of starting my business, where I was lacking confidence and was really in my head wondering if this is going to be worth it. But, I have a really amazing support system of family and friends that helped me push myself out of my insecurities and continue to help me on the daily.

As you know, we’re big fans of No Ware Ceramics. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
This business is focused on hand making each product in small batches and functions entirely as a “one woman show”, I make everything, run my website and sales, manage customer service and ship everything. It’s a lot of hats to wear, but it has been so cool to personally communicate to customers and to hear their stories. It can be hard to compete with big businesses and the instant gratification of 1 day and 2 days shipping, but what will always set me apart is the fact that everything I do is one of a kind and made with intent. For me it’s personal, and I always want to strive to let the customer know how much they are appreciated.

We’re always looking for the lessons that can be learned in any situation, including tragic ones like the Covid-19 crisis. Are there any lessons you’ve learned that you can share?
Absolutely, personally it was learning to go of control, empathy and consideration for my community, and gratitude for my good health and the health of my family. Professionally, it was experiencing so much gratitude to my supporters that kept me in business, especially because my line of work isn’t essential to daily life. Also, at the time of the shut down in March, the local clay companies closed, so I had learned to improvise and developed new techniques in my work to make do with older materials I had previously considered unusable.

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Image Credits

Ryan Salais Chloe Folger

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