Studio Visit: Funsize Ceramics
If you veer off the path, just ever so slightly, from the crazed Hollywood Blvd. tourist cluster of sidewalk paved stars and tattered spidermans - slipping yourself upwards along the warm breeze into the climb of Laurel Canyon - you'd be surprised to find quite the serene existence tucked into the the folds of the lower Hollywood hills.
When Funsize Ceramics invited us into their home studio, upon arrival it made complete sense why Kathryn Hribar decided to place herself amongst the white light and tree top views of this canyon enclave to create her line of ceramics. Winding through tight little alleyway streets strung with handmade wind chimes and jagged barn-like structures, there is no question why these unpaved peaceful curves have attracted many a creative folk throughout the decades.
It's soothing, peaceful and organic just like her work.
Perhaps even more intriguing is the size and personality of the Funsize's space...not to mention Kathryn and her ceramics for that matter: all extremely petite, engagingly chipper and enchantingly minimalist. We first fell in love with her handmade and quirkily glazed porcelain spoons, but soon realized that the modern dual-glazed salt cellars and teeny tiny spice dishes with whimsical details were equally sophisticated additions to the collection.
Let it be known: we are head over heels. Not only with the ceramics, but with the space where they are made and most importantly, the sincere sunshine of a gal whom makes them.
Is it safe to state our 2015 girl crush alert? Let it be known...we're more than okay with it.
[separator type="double"]Who: Kathryn Hribar, Funsize Ceramics Where: Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles CA
Tell us about the first time you sat at a pottery wheel and what moment turned you from enthusiastic hobbyist to full-time ceramicist?
Well, ceramics is addicting. I was enamored of pottery before I ever took a class. I would sit online and stroll images of handmade pots and drool. As for the transition from hobbyist to seriousness, it was probably when I purchased my wheel in January 2014. That was basically when I knew this was more than just a hobby to me, and that I was making a business with real potential. Funsize Ceramics turns 1 in July 2015.
Was there a particular piece you created that jump-started your business?
From the beginning I’ve always enjoyed making smaller pieces. A girlfriend of mine joked in our first class together that I was “the master of the petite pot.” I love anything functional that is also small, so I started making a lot of tiny little dip dishes. My kitchen is filled with them because I use them for dipping sauces and spices. I also have a few scattered around the house to hold odds and ends like jewelry. I put earrings or a ring in them, and I keep a few on my dresser table. Those little dishes were basically how Funsize Ceramics was born.
Where do you pull inspiration from and how do you keep motivated working on those large orders? Is there a particular soundtrack or caffeinated bevvy that keeps you going through the day? Does it involve creative breaks, and if so where do you go and what should we order?
Basically I’m a Pandora slut. It is always on in the background playing anything from 60s rock to current pop (*cough* Kesha). Cantaloop Frozen Yogurt down the street from me makes a rockin’ coffee boba that I basically DREAM ABOUT!!! If I’m in the mood for some baked good, I’ll head over to the Little Next Door on 3rd. They have a lovely outdoor patio, and the best French macaroons and croissants. I also really love a delicious mushroom pizza from Stella Barra (sans Rosemary).
I could probably go on and on about this question for another two pages, but I’ll stop here.
What is the most important thing you've learned launching your own creative business? What advice would you give to other makers on how to promote and get their craft out there?
I’ve been living a freelance lifestyle ever since I graduated from college, so Funsize Ceramics represents independence for me. Since it’s my business, I don’t have to wait on someone else to give me work, or a boss to give me approval. That is probably the best part about launching my own business. Funsize Ceramics didn’t happen overnight. It was a series of slow experiments, that evolved into what it is today. For anyone doing a creative endeavor, I’d say just do it. Don’t let yourself get bogged down with details and worries and fear — just jump right in, and you’ll figure it out as you go. It’s such a rewarding experience.
As for the people wanting to promote their work, my best advice is one word... Instagram. It’s a great way to meet other makers, see what others from all over the world are doing, and a fantastic way to stay inspired by artists who aren’t in your physical space when you work from home or your studio. Instagram is so quick, accessible, and doesn’t cost anything to stay connected or share.
Your surroundings seem to be very important to you while working. What are the three key things you look for to create the ultimate productive studio environment?
I’m extremely lucky to basically roll out of bed and get to work. All of the early “first steps” of the process are done in my home studio. My 3 essentials are: 1) My home studio being so close to me (short commute), 2) No clutter, and a clean, tidy work space. Since I work in my home, I’m forced to reign in the mess, and 3) Privacy — I really like to shut the world out and feel safe to experiment. Then I bring my greenware out to Pasadena for the firing and glazing process. I’m 4’10’’, I live in a 520 square foot cabin and my studio takes up 90 square feet of it, so my pieces reflect myself and my environment immensely.
Tiny person + Tiny studio = Tiny pots.
We can't pick a favorite from your collection! The spoons drew us in, but now we're obsessing on the small salt dishes. Any particular piece that's closest to your heart? How did the creation and inspiration of it come about?
The smaller, the better! But I feel very strongly that Funsize Ceramics pieces should all be functional, just on a really small scale. I want the pieces to be used. A look into my kitchen is basically a historical view of the Funsize Ceramics test lab. Yes! I’m also obsessed with these small salt pots, too! They are slightly larger than my dip dishes and are made with a spotted stoneware clay, giving them a clean rustic look. A perfect addition to any home cook’s stove top.
What's next? Any dream collaborations or new techniques that you'd like to work on this year?
Yes, there are a few exciting things! I’m extending the Funsize Ceramics retail presence outside of Los Angeles. I’m originally from Chicago so that’s definitely the city I’d be thrilled to see my pieces represented in first. Also, a collaboration with the deliciously divine QUIN Candy Company from Portland is in the works. I just love the energy and charm of QUIN, and am thrilled to meld handmade candies with handmade pots. We are going to make some candy & clay magic together!
Additionally, you will be able to catch me at a few handmade shows this spring in LA. More details soon. 2015 is going to be fun!
AH! So exciting to hear about a collaboration between Funsize and QUIN Candy - in fact, check out our QUIN Candy Studio Visit to learn more about their awesome Portland-based confectionary business. We cannot wait to see what these two amazing ladies dream up together!
That being said, we recommend following up on Kathryn's day to day on the Funsize Ceramics Instagram feed - it's guaranteed to be pint-sized perfection in pint-sized pixel form...and a visually lovely way to stay informed on her latest product releases and selling outposts.
And if you're not already online buying up some petite salt sellers and spoons...well...you should probably get on that because we might beat you to it (alllll of it).