Artist Spotlight Q and A: Catie Miller
Meet Catie Miller!
She is a potter, illustrator, muralist, workshop instructor, and one-woman business. Catie Miller’s work is recognized by the bright colors, playful patterning, and unexpected approach to traditional tableware.
Learn more about this incredible artist in this Q and A and by checking out her website: catie-miller.com
What do you like to do for fun?
I love being in my flower gardens around our house. We have a small tree row and a big field of prairie grass that I love walking around in. When I'm feeling drained I go out there and see what is growing and changing around me.
How did you get into ceramics?
I think art has always been my interest, from child to now. I am the middle child, often spending my time drawing or coloring for hours alone. I worked at a paint your own pottery studio during high school into college (7 years total). I took every art class I could in high school, coming in early, spending lunch in the art room, and staying late. Basically art has been a huge part of my life as long as I can remember.
Why did you start using our Forms?
I remember seeing the GR Pottery Forms at probably the first NCECA GRPF was at, Seattle? Milwaukee? I thought they were so inventive. I had been making slab plates for a very long time using plaster molds. Having moved so much, I was sick of hauling around heavy plaster, having it chip, and having to make new ones. GR Pottery Forms were a huge game changer for my studio practice.
What are the biggest inspirations for your work?
The patterns have layers of personal meaning to me. Looking at the work, one will see re-contextualized florals from my flower garden, hunting for worms with my toddler boys after the rain, my obsession with mail and stamps, as well as family pheasant hunting trips in ND among many other ideas. There is a satisfaction knowing the little strange stories I've integrated into the work only start with me and begin to overlap, grow, and evolve as shared human experiences in someone else's home.
How did you develop your style?
I think style is constantly evolving and also always there. Making a lot of work is key to uncovering it. The more you make, the more ideas come. It is important to pay attention to what you're drawn to and keep exploring that until it feels truly you. I love adding touches of humor to the work, the unexpected or overlooked, and lots of color.
Since you create your art through murals, pottery and tons of other mediums, what is your favorite medium to see your work displayed?
I love seeing pots together in groups. I have such a huge number of designs I use on the surfaces of my work. I love when all these designs, colors, and patterns mix to create a vibrant shelf or table of color.
Do you have a piece that you're most proud of?
The last thing I make is usually the thing I'm most excited about. Currently, I'm very excited about the mural I am doing for Starbucks. The mural is full of birds and it's really exciting to have been asked to do something totally me without restrictions on color, logos, etc.
What artists have inspired you?
So many! Our whole house is filled with art from the cabinets to the walls. It is important to support artists but also surround yourself with objects that hold meaning and inspiration to you. Some objects are folk art from family members while others are beautiful prints, paintings, and pots from artists all around the country. Homes filled with interesting art are the best homes.
What are your biggest challenges of being a full time artist?
My biggest challenge is spending the time and energy on the business side of being a full time artist. I get my energy from creating with my hands. Showing up to the studio is fun. Doing everything else from social media, to setting up a website, to consistent newsletters... These are some of my biggest challenges. Everything ebbs and flows. Knowing that is helpful. Some days/weeks I don't have any energy and I spend time doing house projects, picking my boys up from daycare early, going grocery shopping in the middle of the day, etc. Other weeks I can't sleep until I get the creative ideas in my head finished.
What advice would you give someone who wants to be a full time potter/artist?
Save money for retirement. Financially plan for the future. No one knows if they'll do something forever. Always have a back up plan. You can work hard and push everyday for so long, but eventually you need to find a pace that fits the life you want to have. In the end it is just pots, the reason we are here is to connect with others, too. So make time to get out of the studio.
Want to learn more about Catie Miller? Check out her website and social media: