If you have scrolled through Etsy in the last week, then you have noticed the fabulous creations from Silver Lining Ceramics. Katie Marks, the creator had the honor of being one of Etsy’s featured shops. I decided to reach out to Katie and find out more about her amazing work!
I love how your mentioned in your about page that living in Seattle has been an influence on your pieces. What inspired you to create the gem growing series? I was playing with this idea for a crystal series for quite a long time in my head while I was working on my other items. Since quarts crystals are made of the same stuff I use in my glazes I began thinking about how silica and feldspar would react given enough time and heat and pressure in nature.
When I fire my glazes they melt and turn into a solid glassy surface. I thought it would be fun to use MY hands to create crystals. I love the idea that I am using the same materials that would occur naturally and forming them in new ways to express myself as a human. I am mirroring a natural process and bringing a little bit of me into it as well.
Those pops of gold really bring your work to the next level, have you always been using accent colors in your work? Thank you! That is so sweet of you to say! I haven’t always done anything haha I just started making work I felt proud of last year and I am still very much learning as I go and trying new things. I like to use color in a way that compliments the forms and carvings and illustrations that I spend so much time on while the clay is wet. I love the way the gold looks so I keep exploring new ways to use it. I have a few new glazes I am working on and look forward to using as accents in my work in the future along with the gold.
And how exactly do you add the gold luster? Is that after the glazing process? Yep! The gold luster is fired on for a 3rd firing after they come out of the glaze firing. You paint right on top of the glaze where you want to add gold and then fire to cone 018. its really that simple! It smells horrible, the fumes it gives off while firing are highly toxic and it costs about $45 for a teeny tiny bottle but the results are so amazing I can’t stop using it! If you are going to try it out (and I recommend you do) wear a gas mask and try to paint it on outside or in a very well ventilated area. After it is fired it is totally safe! All the toxins that are used to make gold ‘brushable’ burn out when you fire it so no worries!
What really first drew me to your shop (besides that it was featured – congrats!!) were those little cats! Growing up I had an obsession with tiny porcelain animals – have you always made these figurines as well? Funny you should ask this! in short YES I have made so many tiny animals in my life! I made things out of polymer clay from are 4-18. Instead of getting a job as a teenager I made highly intricate polymer clay fairies that I sold on ebay before etsy was around.These little porcelain kitties in my shop were kind of an accident. Sometimes while in the studio Ill just be chatting away with my mentor about life, the universe, and everything and I’ll have a small chunk of clay in my hands and I just mess around with it mindlessly and something cute happens haha.
I made the first little kitty this way and posted a photo on my personal facebook page and the response was so unexpected I decided to make more 🙂 I still have the very first one though!
And have you ever made a custom order and fell in love with the piece and decided to keep it?! I feel like I would if things I made looked like your work!! Out of the hundreds of pieces I have made in the last 2 years I think I only have 3 pieces that I intentionally kept for my self.Two especially nice mugs and a 12″ tall vase that is highly carved and the glaze dripped like a waterfall perfectly and I love putting sunflowers in it. It is my favorite piece Ive ever made so I kept it 🙂 Its funny as soon as I make something I am just happy that I got it out of my head and I want it to go live somewhere else haha. sometimes I hold on to pieces for a while and stare at them until they get boring or all I see is flaws and then I have to make it go away. There was a sugar bowl with a spoon that I almost kept once but I know the person who bought it loves it so that makes me happy too. I just know I can always re-make something so I dont feel the need to keep many of them.
Thanks Katie for sharing your story and your work! If you want to see more check out Silver Lining Ceramics page on Esty.