Today we’d like to introduce you to Annie Quigley.
Annie, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I wasn’t supposed to be an artist….certainly not a ceramic artist. I was supposed to be an actor. I took a wheel throwing class because I heard it could be meditative and peaceful. I wanted an outlet from the frustrations of auditions and “the industry.” What I found was a friendly environment of people from all walks of life who could take mounds of earth and turn them into tangible, functional, beautiful works of art. I also found an incredibly frustrating challenge in the wheel. From that very first class, I couldn’t stop thinking about ceramics: what I would make next, how I could improve upon my skills, and what new technique I could try. I started to take my pots home to try new surface treatments. I fell in love with luminaries and began piercing my work. As my wheel throwing improved so did my carving skills.
I did my first sale on a whim. I was curious what the world would think of my work and if they’d buy it. That first sale was a terrible venue, didn’t provide much foot traffic, and yet I sold some work and learned a ton. It was a catalyst into starting my company. I let go of my agent and said goodbye to the acting world.
An incredibly important shift in my career was my studio setup. I worked out of a community studio for quite a while. I loved the friendships I had there and the inspiration but I was receiving orders that I couldn’t quite fulfill and my work was becoming more and more delicate. Another member, Nicole Reyes, who I hardly knew at the time left to create her own studio in Glendale. She took her life savings and bought a kiln, wheel, industrial sink, etc. Out of pure kindness, she invited me to join her. I don’t know where I’d be without her. Today she is the proud owner of Cobalt and Clay in Frogtown, the artist behind NMR Ceramics, and my best friend.
Now I sell at select art fairs, online, through galleries and stores, and I teach at Cobalt and Clay. It’s not the dream I imagined as a child but a new dream come true.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I went through a period of time when I felt like I couldn’t say no. I took on commissions that cost me money to complete. I made work that was not in my style to please a client, and I placed my work in stores that weren’t right for my brand.
I struggled to stand behind my work and price it as the delicate, time-intensive, expensive art that it is. Most pieces are in my studio for a month. I wheel throw a piece, trim it the next day, carve it over a few days, go back over every cut with a sponge and paintbrush to smooth the clay, and that’s all before two 24 hr firings and glazing. I didn’t think clients would understand that. Turns out that the majority of people who interact with my work understand the work and love behind it.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Quigley Ceramics – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
I am Annie Quigley of Quigley Ceramics. I make luminous delicately-carved ceramic decor. All of my work is made on the potter’s wheel. Then I carve designs into the clay by hand. My designs are inspired by my travels: Islamic plaster works of the Alhambra in Spain, the stained glass windows of Italian cathedrals, the light flickering through redwoods in Yosemite.
I make each piece in the hopes that it will bring joy and light to someone’s home.
I also offer a line of marbled everyday ware: mugs, cups, bowls, plates.
The technique of carving that I do is ancient but not common. It is a very difficult technique that frequently results in cracks and warping for the average potter. Additionally, it is incredibly time consuming. When done well and successfully, however, the results are magical!
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I’m looking forward to offering larger and more dramatic pieces. I would love to collaborate more with the home design world to offer pendant lighting and the like. I’m so excited for the growth I’ve already experienced and I can’t wait for what 2018 has to offer.
- Website: www.QuigleyCeramics.com
- Email: QuigleyCeramics@gmail.com
- Instagram: @Quigley_Ceramics
- Facebook: QuigleyCeramics