Today we’d like to introduce you to Betsey Carter.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Betsey. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I’m from Charleston, SC., and my husband and I moved to Los Angeles 7 years ago to be near our daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren. I am a potter making high fired ceramics for the home and table, striving to continue the centuries-old tradition of making beautiful objects for everyday life.
I’ve always made things. As a child, I loved creating with crayons, construction paper, scissors, and paste and continued on to art camps, classes at the museum, and private lessons. In college, I majored in art history and focused my studio work on sculpture and pottery. That’s when I fell in love with clay. After college, deciding to be practical, I did my graduate work in Library Science and had a career as a college librarian. I knew, though, that one day I’d get back to pottery, and in the 1990’s began taking classes again, and eventually forming a studio with a group of fellow potters.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
My biggest challenge since moving to Los Angeles has been re-starting my pottery business in a new city. As a one-woman business, my next biggest, and ongoing, challenge has been doing everything myself. And of course, there’s the challenge of learning my way around LA and internalizing just how long it takes to get anywhere. I still underestimate how long it takes to get around.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Betsey Carter Ceramics – what should we know?
I’ve always been drawn to the tactile and the utilitarian, as well as the beautiful, and clay is the perfect medium for that esthetic. I’m inspired by William Morris, of the British Arts and Crafts movement, who said that the objects surrounding us should be useful and beautiful. As I work on a piece, I’m thinking about how it will be finished and glazed as well as how the future owner will use it. I love knowing that the pottery I make will hold food at family dinner tables, display flowers from gardens, or steep restorative pots of tea.
Growing up in Charleston, the beauty and rich history of the city has had a profound influence on life and my art. I loved the heirloom English porcelains and silver that filled the homes of family and friends, and the classic shapes and colors of these exquisite objects found their way into my work. In a similar way, I now find the esthetic of LA and the west weaving its way into my work as I incorporate richer colors, more angular architectural shapes, and a more relaxed and casual look.
For a few years, the two threads of my work, the formal, “historical” work influenced by my Charleston life, and the modern, informal LA pieces existed side by side as two distinct bodies of work. After seven years, I see that the Los Angeles influence has won out. If you’re interested, you can see the Charleston work on my website, betseycarter.com, and the Los Angeles work on my Instagram account.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Having lived a long life, there are so many. My parents, Anne and Robert Wall, for their belief in and support of my dreams. My first ceramics teacher, Dr. Robert Westervelt, who taught me things I am still discovering, and Susan Filley, who taught me how be a studio potter. Anne John, Fiorenzo Berardozzi, and Susan Gregory, my partners in Cone 10 Studios – we had a great run. My husband, and the best studio assistant ever, John Carter.
- Website: betseycarter.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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