Our Chat with Jess Cheatham of Salt Ceramics
We're thrilled to introduce Jess Cheatham of Salt Ceramics to 48 & SEA! Jess is a ceramicist and freelance everythingist living and working in Nashville, Tennessee. With the focus being on simplicity and functionality, she strives to create sturdy, everyday pieces that can survive in even the most clumsy of hands. Welcome, Jess! To view her collection of ceramic goods, click here.
Tell us a little about your background and how you got into ceramics.
I was an art student in college, focusing on photography and book arts, then for a credit, took the pottery class and fell in love with it. After I graduated in 2003, I never touched ceramics again until 2013 after finding my box of old ceramics from college and remembering how much I loved it... just kind of hopped back in, self-teaching myself. I still have a lot of learning to do!
What is most important to you when you set out to create a new product?
Functionality. I want every piece to serve a purpose in daily life. Also durability. I'm slightly clumsy, so I try to make my pieces pretty substantial and not too thin. I want your kids to use them.
What do you love to make and where do you look for inspiration?
I love making little cups. Mainly because I love drinking out of little cups and having them around. I enjoy having a special cup for a specific purpose... a fernet cup, a tequila sipper, wine cup, half cup of coffee... everyone's got their own ritual. I'm inspired by simple and basic designs. I usually just make what I would want in my own house.
What do you love about living and working in Nashville?
I was pretty much born and raised here, and up until recently, It's always been a cheap place to live and have a creative space which allows more money for traveling and tackling your creative dreams. Fortunately, I'm still able to have these delicacies that are now so rare here... a cheap mortgage and cheap studio rent. This allowed me to feel confident in pursuing my dream of quitting my day job and having a pottery studio. Also, luckily this town is full of constant freelance jobs that I always have my hands in... these pay the bills! The other thing is the people... Nashville has so many wonderful creative people who have always been here, but with the city's recent growth, it's bringing more and more folks by the day. This definitely feels like the city of opportunity.
If you could do any other occupation, what would it be?
What is your favorite artist in any field, living or dead?
Alex Lockwood. Maybe I'm just being biased (but I do't think so) because he is my friend and I work for him, but he is amazing in talent and a great person/soul. Check him out.
What is next?
Hopefully an apprenticeship with a long-time potter/company so I can become a better potter myself. Also, get the wheels turning on a special business project some friends and I have in the works!