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Meet Pilar Wiley of Pattern Language in West Adams / Jefferson Park

Today we’d like to introduce you to Pilar Wiley.

Pilar, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I have a degree in Visual Art, but I didn’t start making ceramics until later in life, when being on a computer all day as a video editor was starting to drive me crazy. Getting my hands into clay restored the balance. It was like a nutrient I had been missing.

I started with night classes at city colleges. I had a vessel in my mind’s eye that I wanted to make, once I was able to. Ceramics is a deep skill set, and I haven’t gotten there yet, but along the way Pattern Language was born. I stole the name from 1977 Christopher Alexander book, a manual of good design practices — really an index of magic, codifying spatial arrangements that activate ‘aliveness’. I had similar aspirations for the objects exiting my studio.

In 2011, I was part of an artist-run exhibition space downtown called Exilo. Through that space, my work came to the attention of retailers looking to carry unique objects for the home and garden – among them Jenni Kayne, Totokaelo, Love Adorned, the Garden Edit in the U.K. and Ideé Shop in Tokyo. Later I began working with a gallery that brought my work to art fairs and contextualized it for collectors.

Has it been a smooth road?
There have been technical struggles, for sure. Ceramics can be so brutal. There is that element of chance with the firing that is both magic and horror. I love the Instagram account @ceramic_casualties — you get a sense of all the things that can go wrong. So the process makes apparent the limits of control. A ceramic piece is special because it is the child of intention and chance.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Pattern Language – tell our readers more about your business.
I make ceramic objects one by one in my backyard studio, and sell them through online art portals, design stores, galleries, fairs, Instagram, and directly from the studio.

I am obsessed with the form and surfaces of my pieces, often using wax resist and engobe to get the quality I am after – something tactile, cool, expressing the inherent materiality of clay. I often create gourd forms – the matte spotted gourds are probably a signature piece.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I love the diversity of L.A. and it’s many pockets of hidden magic. Of course, I don’t love the traffic.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Noah Albert, Pattern Language

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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