Maker Stories

This Just In-spiration: Meet Shandi & Casey McConnell

July 27, 2015

Our makers never fail to motivate us, encourage our creativity, and fill us with inspiration. So, when a new design enters our assortment, we’re always excited to learn more about the people behind the product.

What gets an artist going and keeps them creating is certainly worth sharing, and every great connection starts with a simple introduction. Meet Shandi and Casey McConnell, designers of the Envelope Wall Vase.

Somewhere between throwing pottery and hanging out with their two small children, Shandi found some time to tell us a bit about their business and designs.

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When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
As far back as I can remember I’ve always had a love for drawing, painting and making. My mom loved art and encouraged my creativity from early on. As a little girl I remember entering coloring contests from the paper and winning a gallon of ice cream from the local Hinky Dinky grocery store. During middle school I took woodworking classes which opened my eyes to the world of making objects in 3D. Surprisingly it wasn’t until college that I even touched clay.

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What was the most exciting thing about becoming a professional artist?
I can still remember the feeling of selling my work for the very first time at a local art show. I couldn’t believe that people were actually giving me money for my work, by the end of the show I had done pretty well and knew this was what I am meant to do. Being able to make a living doing what we love is extremely rewarding in so many ways. I love the freedom that comes with making what I want, working when I want, and being able to take time for life as it happens and not living with a schedule.

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What does your typical day in the studio look like?

Oh boy, or should I say boys! With a 2 year old and 8 month old there is no typical day!

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It’s a mad house scramble in the morning with one of us just trying to get into the studio. Once one of us makes it out there the days work is prepped by slab roller, extruding or making lists to glaze or throw. We then pack any orders that need shipped for the day then head back out to work on clay. Casey and I take turns between hanging out with the boys and working in the studio all day long. I probably change my clothes 10 times a day. We’ve become more focused with our work; there is a lot less design/play time right now but studio time is still a happy and peaceful place. I tell myself this craziness is temporary!

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Is there a trinket, talisman, or other inspirational object you keep near?
I do have quite the collection of Buddha figures. They remind me of our travels and the genuine full of life people we’ve met around the world. Having them around brings me to a good place.

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What quote or mantra keeps your motivated?
I have a lot of them but here are some of my favorites:
“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.” – Susan Sontag
“Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink the wild air.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
“You’ve got to be true to yourself.” And a poster that hangs in my studio: “Every day you inspire people you have never met.”

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What are your most essential tools?
For myself it’s the slab roller and my handmade stamps. Casey has a fettling knife that he HAS to use; the studio gets torn apart if it’s misplaced. It now has an easier to spot red painted handle after it was lost for a few days.

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