Casual Conversation with Dog-Loving Ceramic Studio, clay + craft

If you’re anything like our creative team, there’s a great chance that you appreciate incredibly thoughtful design, especially when it comes to the small or overlooked things that play a part in your everyday life. Clay + craft, a California-based brand that tickles our design team’s fancy, is a collection of ceramic or handcrafted products ranging from kitchen and table wares to home decor goods to jewelry.

In anticipation for our pop-up shop in Venice, CA next week, we caught up with the company’s founder and chief creator, Nicole Novena, to see how life in Cardiff is treating her brand + invite her devastatingly lovable dog, Hooper, to join us at next week’s pop-up fiesta.

Can you speak on what first led to/shaped your path into founding and running one of our favorite ceramics brands, clay + craft?

I grew up in Vermont and our high school’s art department had a pottery studio that was off the charts. It’s still, by far, the best facility I’ve worked in. After getting a C on my first physics test, I asked the ceramics teacher if I could do a independent study with her instead. She agreed and my love for ceramics began. It’s been a part of me ever since… my wheel has traveled all over the country.

Give us an artist or two in California that you admire.

I recently came across Marissa Quinn (@marissaquinn)… her work is amazing. And how can you not appreciate @chrisburkard‘s photography?!?!

Your dog—image attached for everyone’s reference—what’s his deal?

Hooper is four year old Bernese Mountain Dog. He’s got a lot of personality both in naughtiness and love. He’s also the most loyal being I know!

Would Hooper be available to come to the Whalebone pop-up in California? How do you think he’d feel about receiving that invite?

He’d be honored!

If you could go to one stop of the WSL which one would it be and why?

Why do I have to pick just one… there are so many amazing places on the WSL circuit. I’d have to say Landes, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France because I’m French (my maiden name is René) and I’ve never been.

Two favorite Instagram accounts fro branding and design?

Well @adjectiveandco of course! I love @tortus_copenhagen… he is an incredible potter.

Have you ever been to a plate smashing party? (We believe that somewhere in the world this must exist where people smash plates for fun at a party).

Never and if the plates are anything like my ceramic wares I could never bring myself to smash it on purpose (unless it already had a crack in it or the glaze stinks). Making ceramics—especially plates—takes time and time is precious.

See what new creations are coming to life with Nicole and clay + craft via Nicole’s Instagram. Frequent life updates from Hooper included.