OOAK Maker Spotlight: Eikcam ceramics
Canada's largest handmade show is just around the corner and we're getting super excited to meet the makers and browse all the unique goods! This year, Toronto's One of a Kind Christmas Show (OOAK) features the work of 800+ Canadian vendors - many travelling from all corners of the country to be part of the fun!
In anticipation of the show opening next week, we've teamed up with OOAK to present the OOAK Maker Spotlight series - a glimpse at the story, process and preparation of 7 select participating vendors. Take a peek inside the creative life of Grace Lee, owner of Eikcam Ceramics.
Hi Grace! Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into ceramics?
Hi! I'm a Vancouver born ceramic artist. My whole life has revolved around the arts and using and creating with my hands. After graduating art school, I pursued my own path of creating with clay after a long stint of working as an art director and tableware designer. I have a small studio in East Vancouver where I produce full time.
Where do you pull inspiration from for your line, Eikcam Ceramics?
Well, I am always influenced by the pacific northwest: it's pebbled shores and earthy rain forests. And I have much of my inspiration from my travels to Europe, Asia and North America. I also have a little girl who influences my choice of colours of glazes on some of my playful pieces.
Can you tell us a bit about your creative process?
My creative process starts with my hands creating wedging the clay and forming a shape. Most of my forms are simple and then I take my design ideas to pen and paper. I sketch out designs and patterns for the forms that I can reference. I have then months of testing colours with forms and scale. So the whole process of creating a new design can take up to six months. When production starts, it's a long process of making the forms, firing to bisque, glazing, firing to glaze and finishing by sanding each piece.
We'd love to learn a bit more about how you prepare for a show of this scale. When did you start planning and preparing for OOAK?
Well, it has taken a few years to be on top of what goes into the prep for OOAK. I now start thinking and planning for the show a year in advance as my process of making and producing is very tedious and time consuming. First I plan and design a custom booth - think a mini shop that you make your OWN with all the bells and whistles that you envision for your brand and work. Then I can plan out how much work I should make to last the full 11 days and make the booth look well stocked and displayed.
I love the whole process - it's given me more grey hairs to meet deadlines and make all the work - but it is a chance to show your work the way you want it and meet clients that appreciate the work that you do.
Walk us through a bit of the prep work you’ve been doing for the show.
Usually I start with a massive list of pieces that I'd like to make and my staff and I try to make as much as possible up to a cut off date. Then it's glazing madness for 3 months and firing as much I can before I ship my work off in well bubbled boxes. I always have a theme in mind over the months of prep so that I can tie in my decor in the booth. When the booth is all set up, it's then when I can relax and know that everything has been done to the best of my ability.
Why is shopping small important to you?
It's important to shop small because it's supporting the livelihoods of artisans who make their creative path their full time commitment. Moreover, my work is a reflection of my experiences, memories and skills that I have accumulated during my lifetime and I'm lucky enough to have this outlet where people can appreciate and purchase and support my craft. In a larger sense, we are part of a movement in scaling back mass consumption and mass production. I think more and more people are learning to appreciate fine handmade work that is local and thoughtfully and sustainably made.
For more of Grace's work: eikcam.com, or meet her in person at the show!
We've got two sets of 2 tickets to give away! Join us Wednesday November 23rd on the @makersmovement Instagram feed for contest details.