Photos above from beetleandflor.com
Christine Facella is the one of the beautiful designers, what I found here in New York. She work in ceramic media, create jewelry and home things. The themes which inspires her is the bones and the skulls of animals, world of nature frozen in time. Christine was so nice and kind, she gave me possibility for visiting her studio and take a pictures of her work process. I’m still under the impression from her works, and from the studio. I believe, that you fall in love with her works and don’t stay indifferent.
CHD: You are live in New York, but it’s not your hometown, right? Where are you from?
Christine Facella: I was born in Illinois, but grew up in England and Norway. I moved back to the states in 1999 to go to school.
CHD: How long have you lived and worked here in New York for?
Christine Facella: I’ve been here now for 14 years.
I moved here to attend Parsons. I always liked making things, so it felt like a natural choice to study how to make things for a living.
CHD: Why did you choose ceramics as your media? Have you tried other materials?
Christine Facella: The greatest thing about ceramics is its immediate result, and how flexible it is as a material. I love how you can imitate other materials (like wood or metal) just by using glazes. And as a ‘nature lover’ I also love the non-toxic nature of clay. I’ve worked with wood, textiles and metals too, but clay has been my definite favorite.
CHD: What inspires you? And how did you come to use bones and skulls?
Christine Facella: After Parsons I was completely disenchanted with the subject of mass production and design, so I decided to pursue a secondary interest in natural sciences, and ended up at the Museum of Natural History here in NY working both as a model maker for dioramas (I made models of prehistoric plants), and later an illustrator for the Vertebrate Paleontology department, mainly drawing turtle skulls. After a few years I just wanted to illustrate the skulls in dimension, and porcelain seemed like the most natural material to do it with.
CHD: Where do you get the bones and the skulls to make into your ceramic creations?
Christine Facella: In order to create the skulls in porcelain, I first need the real skull. The real skull gets dissected into individual parts which we then make molds from. Most of the skulls I get from family and friends….a good portion are skulls found in various US forests.
CHD: What kind of ceramics do you usually use? Does the gold on your artwork mean anything special?
Christine Facella: Because of porcelain’s texture and translucency, it’s been the best clay material to use. The gold gets painted on to a glazed portion, such as the teeth, and then fired a second time. It starts out at around 16k and fires down to about 14k.
CHD: Your jewelry looks very contemporary and absolutely stylish. How do you feel in the fashion world?
Christine Facella: Oh, I have no interest in fashion. I like trees, plants, animals, and making things! If you saw me on the street you’d probably mistake me for a misfortunate homeless soul 🙂
CHD: Is the interior design aspect of your work as important as your jewelry line? What direction in design do you plan on pursuing in the future?
Christine Facella: I’d like to think that I like making things I’d like to make, weather it’s jewelry or sculpture. I have no real format or idea of what I’m doing next. Right now for example I’m working on children’s toys, mainly to push biodegradable and fair trade merchandise in zoos.
CHD: I know you are selling well. How many places or shops sell your designs?
Christine Facella: Perhaps 20-30 stores around North America, Europe and Australia.
CHD: Do you plan to open your own shop?
Christine Facella: Never!
CHD: The problem you have as a designer, I mean free-lance designer, who work only for him self?
Christine Facella: I work as a freelancer on and off, two to three days a week. It’s a great way to get out of the studio, meet people, and just do something else besides play with clay all day. Having less time to cast and make things has made me more productive, as I’m better at managing my time. The extra income has allowed me to upgrade equipment and hire help when needed. At some point of course, I’d love to only have the ‘studio’ job.
CHD: What are your plans for the future? Any dreams?
Christine Facella: Besides ceramics I’m interested in sharing my experience with less fortunate artisans: over the years I’ve traveled to places like India, lending help to artisans and small ngo’s looking to redesign traditional goods or who need assistance with a branding strategy. I enjoy this work more than anything. Its difficult to put your self and your stuff out there, and more so if you don’t have access to the type of tools needed to make yourself visible on an international market.
Photo Credit: ColourHeelsDiary