This month's special guest is the amazingly talented Debra Aase-Farnum from Charlotte, North Carolina! Debra and I have been in contact now for quite some time and she honestly is such an authentic, sweet soul! Her work is so magical and the name 'tales of the high seas and beyond' really speaks its truth. Her pieces tell stories of the sea, all being related to the ocean, and they bring such a mystical genuineness that you feel nothing but connected to the Earth and its beauty. Her pieces are 100% handcrafted - sculpted and painted herself. She is an overall talent with so much to offer, check out my interview with this wonderful artist below!
Ashley: Let me just start off by saying, WOW. The second I came across your handmade pieces I fell in love - every piece makes me feel as though a story is being told, and the vintage style behind each one brings me back in time. Was this always your goal for what you wanted your overall style and message of your art to be?
Debra: Thank you so much! My father instilled a love of storytelling in me from a young age. I went on to study book design and printing making for my degree. Porcelain has become my page. I continue to embrace the aesthetic of the printed page in my ceramic work.
Ashley: I see that most of your work revolves around marine life and nature, what's attracted you towards that being your main focus? And where do you get your inspiration from?
Debra: We spend our summers on a little island. I feel a strong connection to the calm, the mystery and the power of ocean. The sea is where I go to find deep restoration. I seek to articulate the flowing movement of sea life and the contemplative calm my heart rests in by the sea. There is much to experience beneath the surface.
Ashley: When did you start this journey? Is it something that came naturally to you?
Debra: Once I graduated from college, I discovered clay. There was a little pottery studio in walking distance from where I lived. I fell in love with the calming process of wheel throwing. Illustration and storytelling were the heart of my truest art form. It took a lot of experimentation and discovery on how I could incorporate my two artistic loves - Illustrated pottery came from this desire.
Ashley: I read that 10% of your proceeds go to human trafficking, that’s absolutely amazing and I have a lot of respect for you for making that contribution. Can you tell us a little more about your decision to do so?
Debra: My heart breaks for those enslaved by the injustices of human trafficking. Several years ago I read a book called the "Locust Effect" by International Justice Mission. It was the hardest book I have ever read, filled with stories of the violence committed against the world’s most vulnerable people - I sobbed through every page. The book produced a scar on my heart so that I never forget to help fight for those who have no voice or power to fight for themselves.
Ashley: I love every piece that you’ve created, but I will have to say your mugs are my absolute favorite. I know this may be hard, but if you had to choose your favorite piece which would it be?
Debra: All of my work is one of a kind, which is what I love about handmade. I love creating the canvas on which I've drawn. Larger surfaces such as platters and pitchers allow for more elaborate storytelling. My favorite mug at the moment are the sea turtles. Each one has an individual expression. Each piece tells a tale. Thank you so much!
Ashley: Whats your favorite part about the creation process being completely handmade?
Debra: I absolutely love throwing vessels on the pottery wheel and illustrating with underglaze. There are so many steps in the process from wedging clay, to throwing, to trimming, creating handles, surface design, glazing, overglaze and firings. There are definitely varying degrees of enjoyment for each step.
It’s so easy to get lost in Debra’s pieces - I can say that first hand! Thank you so much to Debra for sharing her insight with all of us! Make sure to check out her Instagram and website if you would like to put in an order :)
Do you know a self-starter who has unique talents that should be shared?
I would love to hear all about it! Message or email me with more information!
thanks for stopping by!
xx Ash :)